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Amazon buys Whole Foods grocery chain for £10.7bn

Whole Foods has 460 stores across the US, Canada and the UK, with nine of them in Britain.

Amazon is to acquire supermarket chain Whole Foods in an all-cash deal worth 13.7 billion US dollars (£10.7 billion), in the internet giant’s biggest foray into the grocery sector to date.

The companies announced on Friday that Amazon will buy Whole Foods for 42 US dollars per share (£32.80), but will continue to operate stores under the Whole Foods brand.

Whole Foods currently has 460 stores across the US, Canada and the UK, with nine of them in Britain.

The deal, which includes Whole Foods Market’s net debt, will see John Mackey remain as chief executive of the grocer and maintain its headquarters in Austin, Texas.

Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos said: “Millions of people love Whole Foods Market because they offer the best natural and organic foods, and they make it fun to eat healthy. Whole Foods Market has been satisfying, delighting and nourishing customers for nearly four decades – they’re doing an amazing job and we want that to continue.”

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Amazon teamed up with Morrisons in the UK (Chris Radburn/PA)

The acquisition ramps up Amazon’s stake in the global grocery market following its launch of AmazonFresh, which entered the UK market last year.

The internet giant, which has also teamed up with Morrisons in the UK, has now more than tripled its reach to 260 postcodes across London, Surrey and parts of Hampshire.

Shares in listed British supermarkets tanked on news of the Whole Foods deal, which will likely see further competition in an already crowded sector.

Tesco and Sainsbury’s shares sank 3%, while Morrisons fell by 1.5%. Amazon’s US-listed shares were up 2.5% in morning trading, while Whole Foods shares skyrocketed 27%.

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