The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said that the deal would not lessen competition and it would not pursue any further investigation of the acquisition.
Acting director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition Bruce Hoffman said: “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.”
Agreed to the merger
The watchdog’s decision reportedly came just hours after Whole Foods’s shareholders agreed to the merger, clearing the way for Amazon’s takeover of the company.
Daniel Domberger, partner at business consultancy Livingstone, said the acquisition could open the door for similar deals between online retailers and grocery companies.
“This is already trending in the US, as we are seeing with large supermarkets Kroger and Aldi teaming up with Instacart [an online grocery company] to offer home delivery services.
“Further expansion of this nature in the grocery space will be transformative for the industry,” said Domberger.
‘Transformative for the industry’
Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods is set to be the biggest in the online retailer’s history and would likely see it take control of more than 460 stores across the US, Canada and the UK.
The merger has sent shockwaves through the grocery sector, claimed Livingstone’s food and drink specialist Harsha Wickermasinghe last month, foreshadowing further expansion of the online retailer into the UK multiples’ traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ area of business.
The acquisition is Amazon’s latest venture into the food and drink industry, following the introduction of its grocery delivery service, Amazon Fresh, in the UK last year.
Meanwhile, Moy Park may be sold to Chinese agri-food giant New Hope in a £1bn takeover deal, according to an industry expert.