Whole Foods shareholders approve Amazon merger in $13.7B deal

Last Updated Aug 23, 2017 5:58 PM EDT

Whole Foods shareholders voted Wednesday to bless a union with Amazon that the organic grocery chain's CEO called "love at first sight."

Before agreeing to the $13.7 billion offer, Whole Foods Markets (WFM) had been under intense shareholder pressure to improve results and retain customers who have more choices about where to get natural foods.

Approval from Whole Foods shareholders on Wednesday is one of the steps required to close the deal. The companies also need approval from government regulators.

The FTC on Wednesday gave its green light to the acquisition, saying it has decided not to pursue an investigation into whether the deal would be uncompetitive. The investigation was sparked by a complaint from advocacy group Consumer Watchdog, which has complained the online retailer "routinely uses inflated and fictitious previous prices to give consumers the misleading impression they're getting a bargain." 

"Based on our investigation we have decided not to pursue this matter further," Bruce Hoffman, the acting director of the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Competition, said in a statement. "Of course, the FTC always has the ability to investigate anticompetitive conduct should such action be warranted."

Amazon (AMZN) announced plans to buy Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market Inc. in June. The takeover would give the e-commerce giant more than 460 Whole Foods stores and the possibility of making big changes to the supermarket industry. Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc. has said it expects the deal to close this year.