Amazon to Buy Whole Foods for $13.7 Billion

The takeover is slated to be completed in the second half of the year

Amazon, the Seattle-based e-commerce giant, is set to buy healthy supermarket chain Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, Amazon confirmed on Friday.

The company will pay $42 per share for Whole Foods, representing a 27 percent premium on its current share price of $33. Shares of Whole Foods were halted from trading as the market opened on Friday.

“Millions of people love Whole Foods Market because they offer the best natural and organic foods, and they make it fun to eat healthy,” Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos said in a statement.

It’s Amazon’s biggest deal ever, easily surpassing its $970 million acquisition of video service Twitch in 2014.

For years, the company has looked to dive into the $800 billion grocery industry, but its customers have been slow to embrace buying milk from the same site they buy their books from.

John Mackey, Whole Foods’ embattled co-founder and CEO, will continue to run the grocery chain after an internal push to sell the company. There are about 450 Whole Foods stores worldwide.

Wall Street responded positively to the deal for Amazon, with its stock price jumping more than 3 percent as it pushes towards $1,000 a share.

The deal is expected to close later this year.