Whole Foods Takes a Stake in Delivery Service Instacart

The grocer’s investment in Instacart comes as more consumers buy groceries online for home delivery.

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As more Whole Foods customers choose to avoid the store by ordering online and getting groceries delivered to their homes through Instacart, the high-end supermarket chain is taking a stake in the four-year-old startup.

Instacart Inc. authorized the sale of new equity earlier this year, letting Whole Foods Market Inc. buy shares in the startup in conjunction with an expanded partnership, said people familiar with the transaction, who asked not to be identified because the details are private. Analysis by private stock market operator Equidate, based on a regulatory filing, pegged the total equity authorization at about $36 million.

The shares were added to Instacart's previous funding round at the same share price from late 2014, which valued the company at about $2 billion, according to the filing. Whole Foods and Instacart declined to comment.

Before the Whole Foods investment, Instacart raised more than $270 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The San Francisco startup and its peers have benefited from a shift in an overcrowded food delivery market this year.

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