World Bulletin / News Desk
Amazon is once again shaking up the retail sector, with the announcement Friday it will acquire upscale US grocer Whole Foods Market, in a deal that underscores the online giant's growing influence in the economy.
In the $13.7 billion, all-cash deal, Amazon will buy the Texas-based champion of organic and specialty food for $42 a share. Whole Foods' shares traded in the mid-$30 range for May and early June.
The announcement had immediate and punishing consequences on Wall Street for retailers, such as Wal-Mart Stores, that sell groceries and are expected to face even tougher competition with Amazon now much more active in the space.
But shares of Whole Foods shot up 29.1 percent to close at $42.68, while Amazon jumped 2.4 percent to $987.71, a gain of $11.3 billion in market capitalization, close to the value of the deal itself.
However, S&P placed Amazon on credit watch with negative implications on expectations the company will increase debt to finance the takeover.
Whole Foods will continue to operate stores under its brand and will continue to be led by co-founder and chief executive John Mackey, the companies said.
Mackey helped grow the company from a tiny health-conscious grocer in Texas into a giant in upscale chain in all but eight US states.
"This partnership presents an opportunity to maximize value for Whole Foods Market's shareholders, while at the same time extending our mission and bringing the highest quality, experience, convenience and innovation to our customers," Mackey said.
Nobel Ilac will use the loan to expand production and improve quality of medicines
The company said the deal would make Total the second-largest operator in the North Sea, with substantial operations in Britain, Norway and Denmark.
Volatility eased as traders focused on the world economy and corporate earnings after a week dominated by the dramatic spike in tensions over North Korea, which triggered a global sell-off before prices bounced back Monday.
Investors greeted the more conciliatory tone after US stocks dropped three days in a row last week on President Donald Trump's vow of "fire and fury" if North Korea continued to pursue its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
The ultra-conservative kingdom has moved to diversify its traditionally oil-dependent economy following a sharp fall in crude prices.
In its monthly report on the global oil market, the International Energy Agency said, however, that it believes the supply glut is easing, partly because demand is growing faster.
US stocks have been in retreat since President Donald Trump Tuesday issued a fiery warning to North Korea to halt its nuclear program.
The move by one of Japan's best-known firms greatly reduces the chance of an embarrassing delisting from the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE).
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index weakened by 0.5 percent to 7,503.39 points.
The approval by the European Commission comes just over two months after the European Central Bank -- which took on the role of the eurozone's banking supervisor in 2014 -- allowed the sale to go ahead for a symbolic fee of one euro.
BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell and Total have all published results in recent days, showing they pocketed $23 billion in net profit in the first half fo the year.
Higher cereal, sugar and dairy prices pushed food price index by 10.2 percent annually in July