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Jul 14, 2017

Congress should 'fully scrutinize' Amazon-Whole Foods deal: U.S. lawmaker

A Whole Foods Market in Andover, Mass.

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WASHINGTON -- U.S. Representative David Cicilline, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee's antitrust panel, urged the panel to hold a hearing on Amazon's (AMZN.O) plan to buy Whole Foods (WFM.O).

The US$13.7-billion deal was announced last month, and Cicilline requested the hearing on Thursday in a letter to the chair of the House Judiciary Committee and the subcommittee chairman.

"Amazon’s proposed purchase of Whole Foods could impact neighborhood grocery stores and hardworking consumers across America," Cicilline said in a statement. "Congress has a responsibility to fully scrutinize this merger before it goes ahead."

The deal must be approved by U.S. antitrust enforcers, in this case most likely the Federal Trade Commission. Congress plays no formal role in that process but hearings are often used to highlight the possible impact of deals on consumers.