NEW YORK - Online juggernaut Amazon is buying Whole Foods in a deal valued at about $13.7 billion, including debt.

Amazon.com Inc. will pay $42 per share of Whole Foods Market Inc.

“Millions of people love Whole Foods Market because they offer the best natural and organic foods, and they make it fun to eat healthy,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, in a statement.

“Whole Foods Market has been satisfying, delighting and nourishing customers for nearly four decades – they’re doing an amazing job and we want that to continue.”

The deal is targeted to close in the second half of the year.

Whole Foods Market will reportedly continue to operate under the same brand.