As investors continue to speculate about a potential rival bidder to Amazon’s $13.7 billion price for Whole Foods Market, Reuters reports that Walmart is not in the running to scoop up the high-end grocer from its competitor.
Whole Foods stock has been trading above the price Amazon is paying — $42 per share — all week as analysts expected a possible bidding war. JPMorgan analysts in a note Thursday wrote that Walmart could step in to thwart Amazon as well as make in-roads with Whole Foods’ upscale customer base. In addition to Walmart’s lack of interest, Reuters reports that Whole Foods has not received any other bids.
Though it had been previously reported that Amazon was interested in Whole Foods, news of the bid last week sent shockwaves through the grocery industry. Walmart stock has dropped 5 percent since the deal was announced last week, Costco stock is done close to 13 percent and Kroger shares have declined approximately 8 percent.
On the same day as Amazon’s blockbuster buy, Walmart made an acquisition of its own that got way less attention: $310 million for online clothing company Bonobos. The respective moves show the competitors’ priorities and ambitions. Walmart, the world’s largest physical retailer, is looking to up its online footprint while Amazon, the king of online retail, is making a greater push into physical retail and grocery.
Amazon’s reasons for purchasing Whole Foods in by far its biggest ever acquisition still remain mostly unclear. But we do know that the deal gives Amazon a significantly larger retail footprint without having to deal with years of site selection, design and construction.
In a transcript of a town hall meeting with employees, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey made it clear that there will be integrations of Amazon technology into Whole Foods locations, citing the tech giant’s reputation for innovation. “I think we’re gonna get a lot of those innovations in our stores. I think we’re gonna see a lotta technology. I think you’re gonna see Whole Foods Market evolve in leaps and bounds,” he said, according to the transcript.
The purchase also gives Amazon access to a treasure trove of customer data as it applies artificial intelligence concepts to the worlds of grocery and physical retail.