Amazon and Walmart Purchase Whole Foods and Bonobos, Respectively

Amazon spends $13.7 billion, Walmart $310 million
June 16, 2017Andrea Lillo

Amazon and Walmart logosSEATTLE and BENTONVILLE, Ark.—Amazon and Walmart made strategic purchases today to better compete with each other. Amazon looks to expand its foothold in both the grocery category and physical locations with the acquisition of Whole Foods Market, while Walmart continues to expand its online presence with the purchase of mens’ etailer Bonobos.

Amazon will acquire Whole Foods Market for $42 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $13.7 billion, including Whole Foods Market’s net debt. Whole Foods reported sales of approximately $16 billion in fiscal year 2016 and has more than 460 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

“Millions of people love Whole Foods Market because they offer the best natural and organic foods, and they make it fun to eat healthy,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. “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.”

The move bolsters Amazon’s grocery category—an area dominated by Walmart—especially given Whole Foods’ organic focus, as the organic food category overall is growing. Amazon also now has hundreds of additional store locations, which will only help its distribution channel.

“Amazon did not just buy Whole Foods grocery stores. It bought 431 upper-income, prime-location distribution nodes for everything it does,” said Wall Street Journal Financial Editor Dennis Berman on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Walmart picked up Bonobos, a leading, online apparel brand, for $310 million in cash. The purchase is the latest move by Walmart in the online space—it bought Jet.com not even a year ago—and has seen e-commerce growth ever since. Following the closing, Andy Dunn, founder and CEO of Bonobos, will report to Marc Lore, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. eCommerce, and oversee the company’s collection of digitally native vertical brands.

Walmart reported 63 percent growth in U.S. e-commerce sales in its most recent quarter, with the majority of that coming from organic growth at Walmart.com.

“We’re seeing momentum in the business as we expand our value proposition with customers and it’s incredible to see how fast we’re moving,” said Lore. “Adding innovators like Andy will continue to help us shape the future of Walmart, and the future of retail...They’ve created an amazing product and customer experience, and that will not change. In fact, Andy will be a great influence on the company, especially in leading our collection of exclusive brands offered online.”

Andrea LilloAndrea Lillo | Senior Editor
alillo@hfnmag.com

Andrea Lillo has written about a variety of topics, from beer gardens in Queens to kitchen design trends to residential caves. Having joined Home Furnishings News in 2006, she serves as Fashion Editor.

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