Amazon.com drew one step closer to buying Whole Foods Market on Wednesday as shareholders of the high-end grocer voted to give their blessing to the $13.7 billion acquisition.
The deal, announced in June, would be a massive move into the grocery business for Seattle-based Amazon, and gives the online commerce giant a huge stake in brick-and-mortar retail in the form of 460 Whole Foods stores.
Amazon has said it expects the deal, which still requires regulatory approval, to close by the end of the year.
Wednesday's shareholder vote, held at Whole Foods headquarters in Austin, Texas, had been expected to pass. It did, reporters at the scene said, about 45 minutes after the meeting began.
There has been opposition to the tie up among critics of the company and some members of Congress.
On Wednesday, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union renewed its criticism of Amazon, asking the Whole Foods board and shareholders to guarantee protections for workers' jobs and salaries after the deal.
The union, which represents grocery workers, said the deal was "a threat to Whole Foods workers and their families."
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Image credit: Whole Foods Market.