The marriage between Amazon and Whole Foods has received its blessing from the Federal Trade Commission.
The U.S. regulatory agent investigated if the online retailer’s proposed acquisition of the supermarket chain would impede competition or give the tech giant an unfair advantage.
On Wednesday, the FTC announced it had approved the deal between Amazon and Whole Foods—a merger valued at $13.7 billion US. The online retailer’s intent to purchase was initially announced in June, and today Amazon confirmed the acquisition will close on Monday.
“Based on our investigation we have decided not to pursue this matter further. Of course, the FTC always has the ability to investigate anticompetitive conduct should such action be warranted,” said Bruce Hoffman, acting director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition in a statement.
Whole Food’s shareholders also approved Amazon’s purchase, just hours before winning the federal stamp of approval.
Amazon also announced that as of next Monday, grocery prices on popular Whole Foods items will drop, and they’ll introduce discounts for Amazon Prime members.
Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer, said making grocery staples more affordable is “just the beginning.”
“We will make Amazon Prime the customer rewards program at Whole Foods Market and continuously lower prices as we invent together. There is significant work and opportunity ahead, and we’re thrilled to get started,” he said in a statement.
For Amazon, this deal marks the e-commerce giant’s biggest foray to date into the brick-and-mortar business. Whole Foods will keep their CEO John Mackey and their 470 healthy grocery stores will continue to operate under the Whole Foods brand.
“By working together with Amazon and integrating in several key areas, we can lower prices and double down on that mission and reach more people with Whole Foods Market’s high-quality, natural and organic food,” said Mackey.
When the deal was first announced, critics argued the merger would lessen customer choice and ultimately lead to the closure of smaller grocery chains and independent food stores.