It looks like Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods Market is all but in the bag as federal regulators said they would allow the $13.7 billion deal to continue.
The decision announced Wednesday by the US Federal Trade Commission allows the online retail giant to take its greatest stab yet at the $800 billion US grocery market. The deal, by far Amazon’s biggest acquisition, is expected to close in the second quarter.
The FTC conducted an investigation of the deal to determine whether the merger would decrease competition under federal antitrust regulations, Bruce Hoffman, acting director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition, said in a statement Wednesday.
The deal, announced in June, provides Amazon with a new upscale brand, after the e-commerce company has made its name as a low-cost competitor. The world’s largest online retailer will now become a major player in physical stores for the first time after dabbling with several store concepts for the past year and a half.
By acquiring the grocery chain, known for its high-end, health-first approach to food, the online retailer will get 460 stores in the US, Canada and the UK.
Amazon has said it would allow Whole Foods to continue operating as its own business, at least for now. A person familiar with Amazon’s planning previously told CNET the e-commerce company has no current plans to change its own groceries strategy either and won’t be sunsetting the AmazonFresh grocery brand.
Representatives for Amazon and Whole Foods didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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