News Release

Trump Administration “Rubber Stamps” Amazon-Whole Foods Merger


Starting Monday, Amazon and Whole Foods will merge after rapid government approval.

PATRICK WOODALL, pwoodall at
PATTY LOVERA, plovera at, @foodandwater
Woodall is research director and senior policy advocate for Food & Water Watch. Lovera is assistant director for the group and coordinates its food program.

The group released a statement: “The Federal Trade Commission rashly rubber stamped the $14 billion Amazon-Whole Foods merger — to the detriment of farmers and consumers across the U.S. The scale and complexity of the deal warranted a thorough investigation into how the merger would affect upstream suppliers, like the thousands of local farmers and innovative food companies that supply Whole Foods, as well as rival organic and natural grocery retailers.

“On the campaign trail, Trump vilified Amazon as an unfair e-commerce monopoly, but his administration quietly approved a deal that will affect farmers and consumers coast-to-coast. The past few years have seen an agribusiness, supermarket and food company mega-merger mania that is harming farmers and consumers, and the federal antitrust regulators have been asleep at the switch — under both Trump and Obama. It is long past time for Washington to stand up to the merger mania sweeping everything from seed companies to supermarkets into its monopolist maw.”

David Dayen writes in The NationThe Trump Administration Just Approved a Dangerous Merger” that: “President Donald Trump has been shouting about Jeff Bezos and Amazon for months, mostly out of pique at press coverage in The Washington Post[which Amazon founder Bezos owns]. This raised the prospect of government action against Amazon simply because Trump didn’t like his media clips. But like almost everything with Trump, he was just blowing hot air: Yesterday, his Federal Trade Commission handed Amazon its biggest victory yet. …

“Whole Foods suppliers, frequently small businesses dependent on access to these markets, are sitting ducks. If they’re not being told to cut costs to the bone to retain access — to both Whole Foods’ and Amazon’s online markets, a key source of leverage — they’ll find an Amazon version of whatever they sell, in a better location in the store, at a discount (at least to start; Amazon has shown a willingness to lose money for years in a market to eliminate competition). Controlling distribution and manufacturing products is a deadly combination, and clearly anticompetitive.”