Amazon’s $13.7 billion deal to buy Whole Foods moved closer to the checkout line today: The food retailer’s shareholders endorsed the acquisition, and the Federal Trade Commission said it will not raise antitrust objections.
The FTC “decided not to pursue this matter further,” says Bruce Hoffman, Acting Director of the Bureau of Competition. “Of course, the FTC always has the ability to investigate anticompetitive conduct should such action be warranted.”
Investors appear confident about the deal: Whole Foods shares closed today at $41.68, close to Amazon’s $42-a-share offer.
Analysts believe that the acquisition will be key to Amazon’s new Instant Pickup initiative: Members of its Prime loyalty program can stop by venues, initially around five college campuses, and buy popular items such as snacks, personal care items and small electronics including phone chargers within two minutes.
“As shopping behaviors continue to evolve, customers consistently tell us that they want items even faster,” Amazon Director of Student Programs Ripley MacDonald said last week. “While Instant Pickup is available at select pickup locations today, we’re excited about bringing this experience to more customers soon.”
Morgan Stanley’s Brian Nowak says the rollout around colleges is “strategically smart because it furthers [Amazon’s] brand awareness and presence in the minds — and wallets — of college kids. As these kids age and their spend grows, this could lead to further Amazon share gains.”