(Bloomberg)—Amazon.com Inc.’s $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods Market Inc. won quick U.S. antitrust approval, showing that concerns in Washington about the growing power of technology companies weren’t enough to derail the online retailer’s biggest-ever acquisition.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission approved the deal within a 30-day period, meaning it didn’t find the tie-up would hurt competition in the grocery market, the agency said Wednesday.
The deal coincided with mounting concerns that technology companies such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Facebook Inc. and Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500, are becoming too powerful. A Democratic lawmaker had called for a more thorough review of the proposed Amazon-Whole Foods merger.
President Donald Trump has also singled out Amazon for criticism, saying in an Aug. 16 tweet that “Amazon is doing great damage to tax paying retailers.”
Despite the criticism in the air, the FTC approved the deal because Amazon and Whole Foods are not close competitors and shoppers will have plenty of other options to buy groceries, said Norm Armstrong, an antitrust lawyer at King & Spalding LLP in Washington.
“When you combine the two, the question is whether it will substantially lessen competition or have an anticompetitive effect on the marketplace,” said Armstrong, a former deputy director of the FTC bureau that reviews mergers. “The answer is no.”Favorite