Whole Foods Market’s shareholders voted on the sale to Amazon, approving the deal and putting it closer to completion.
According to a news report on CNBC, both sides now expect the deal to be finalized during the second half of this year. Shareholders were expected to sign off on the $13.7 billion acquisition by Amazon. Whole Foods and Amazon still need a nod from regulators, noted the report.
A source told CNBC the closing could come sooner than the second half of this year, regulators that need to sign off the acquisition, reported CNBC. One such agency, the Federal Trade Commission did that as well on Wednesday (Aug. 23). The government agency said it would allow the deal to move ahead, reported CNBC in another report. Bruce Hoffman, acting director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition said in a statement the FTC looked at whether the deal would hurt competition and decided not to move forward with the inquiry.
In conjunction with the deal, Amazon announced last week it is offering to sell senior unsecured notes in a private offering, with net proceeds going to fund some or all of its multibillion-dollar acquisition of Whole Foods Market. Proceeds will also be used for general corporate purposes, the eCommerce giant said.
While shareholders are backing the acquisition deal, not everyone is on board. In July, Bloomberg reported U.S. Representative David Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island, sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee calling for a hearing on the acquisition, arguing a monopoly has hurt wages for workers and created “gross inequality in the workplace.”
Amazon’s proposed acquisition of Whole Foods “raises important questions concerning competition policy, such as how the transaction will affect the future of retail grocery stores, whether platform dominance impedes innovation and if the antitrust laws are working effectively to ensure economic opportunity, choice and low prices for American families,” Cicilline wrote, according to Bloomberg.
The call on the part of the lawmaker comes as Doug Kass, a hedge fund manager, has shorted shares of Amazon, saying antitrust concerns will hurt its stock price.
“My understanding is that certain Democrats in the Senate have instituted the very recent and preliminary investigation of Amazon’s possible adverse impact on competition,” Kass wrote in a recent blog post.