FTC approves Amazon-Whole Foods deal

FTC approves Amazon-Whole Foods deal
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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is giving the green light to Amazon’s proposed $13.7 billion purchase of grocery chain Whole Foods, clearing the way for the deal to close this year.

Bruce Hoffman, the FTC's acting competition bureau chief, said Wednesday the agency is dropping its review of the deal.

"Based on our investigation we have decided not to pursue this matter further," Hoffman said in a statement.

"Of course, the FTC always has the ability to investigate anticompetitive conduct should such action be warranted.”

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The deal was approved by Whole Foods shareholders earlier Wednesday.

The proposal was widely expected to be cleared since the two companies do not directly compete with each other. Amazon's food shopping service accounts for a tiny fraction of the market, while Whole Foods caters mainly in their upscale grocery stores.

Still, the deal has sparked opposition from many who worry that such massive corporate consolidation could lead to Amazon dominating yet another industry.

Democratic lawmakers last month urged regulators to also look closely at whether the deal would lead to more “food deserts” or hurt the public’s access to fresh groceries by damaging traditional grocers and retailers.

The purchase will be a major boost to Amazon’s efforts in the grocery market.

The company already offers a “PrimeNow” service to deliver households goods to consumers, along with “AmazonFresh” which delivers groceries.

Amazon announced the deal just two months ago.

At the time, the companies said that Whole Foods CEO John Mackey would stay on to helm his company.

The acquisition is expected to close by the end of the year.

This story was updated at 5:35 p.m.