Money Matters

Amazon to Buy Whole Foods for $13.7 Billion

Amazon.com Inc. said it would buy Whole Foods Market Inc. for $13.7 billion as the giant internet retailer makes a deeper push into the grocery space.

Amazon will pay $42 a share for Whole Foods, valuing the grocer at a 27% premium to its closing price Thursday. The deal is by far the largest in Amazon’s history, and it is expected to close in the second half of this year.

Amazon’s offer represents a 27 percent premium to Whole Foods’ closing price on Thursday. With Whole Foods shares trading around Amazon’s offer price, investors appear to be speculating that another suitor could make a play for the grocery chain.

Among those who could potentially make a bid are Wal-Mart, who has been focusing its dealmaking on bulking up its digital business, and JAB Holdings, a private equity player that has been shifting its focus to restaurants and food and beverage businesses.

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