Amazon Buying Whole Foods Could Trigger A “Big” Antitrust Battle

As soon as Amazon announced on Friday that it was purchasing Whole Foodsfor $13.7 billion, antitrust and competition policy experts sat straight up.

While Amazon has been toying with brick-and-mortar retail for a few years — opening a handful of bookstores and grocery stores — the Seattle digital retail giant’s domination has mostly stayed online. Amazon accounted for 34 percent of all digital commerce last year, and that figure is expected to hit 50 percent by 2021, according to figures from the research firm Needham & Co.

The reaction on Wall Street to the Amazon-Whole Foods announcement suggests that investors expect Amazon to extend that dominance to supermarkets; since the deal was revealed, Amazon’s market value has risen by more than the $13.7 billion it’s paying for Whole Foods.

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