Whole Foods shareholders back Amazon takeover

Upmarket grocer received a $13.7bn bid from internet retail giant earlier in the year.

Amazon is changing Whole FoodsVincent Balestriere

Internet retail giant Amazon's $13.7bn (£10.8bn) bid for upmarket grocer Whole Foods has been approved by its shareholders.

The bid, which would see Whole Foods' physical presence come under Amazon's global e-commerce delivery clout, was met with an expected shareholder approval on Wednesday (23 August).

The deal will now be ruled upon by the US competition watchdog.

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Amazon eventually settled on an offer price of $42 per Whole Foods' share and the assumption of the grocer's debt earlier this year.

The grocery chain has a physical footprint of 470 stores in Canada, US and the UK. The approval comes on the day US supermarket leader Walmart said its products would be available via the voice-activated Google Assistant.

Earlier in this month, discount retailer Aldi announced a tie-up with delivery company Instacart to reach out to online shoppers.

Daniel Domberger, Partner at M&A specialists Livingstone, said the real story is not the takeover approval, but the way in which delivery companies like Amazon are aligning themselves with grocery companies such as Whole Foods.

"This is already trending in the US, as we are seeing with large supermarkets Kroger and Aldi teaming up with Instacart to offer home delivery services. Further expansion of this nature in the grocery space will be transformative for the industry. We can expect to see more key players in the gig economy arena leveraging physical store presence as the key to long-term success."

Customers shop in the produce section at the Whole Foods grocery story in Ann Arbor, Michigan, US.Rebecca Cook / Reuters

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