Whole Foods could be just the beginning of Amazon’s physical retail ambitions.
Gene Munster, co-founder of Loup Ventures and a former Piper Jaffray analyst who is well known after predicting Apple’s success, now thinks that Amazon will acquire Target in 2018.
Munster, in a write-up about eight predictions for this year, called Target an “ideal offline partner for Amazon” because of a shared demographic and “comprehensive store count.”
“Getting the timing on this is difficult, but seeing the value of the combination is easy,” he noted.
Munster told Bloomberg Radio that “investors would view this as Amazon taking over the world and that’s a good thing.”
Shares of Target rose more than 3 percent on Tuesday. The company, which has 1,834 stores, is valued at $36 billion.
Amazon bought Whole Foods for $13.7 billion last year, a deal that sent shares of brick-and-mortar retailers down — Target included — and has caused grocers like Albertsons to partner with delivery companies like Instacart.
“As for retail stores, Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods 470 stores along with testing of the Amazon Go retail concept is evidence that Amazon sees the future of retail as a combination of mostly online and some offline,” Munster wrote.
Target itself is bolstering its e-commerce and delivery engine, as it announced its intent to acquire same-day delivery startup Shipt for $550 million last month.