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Amazon eyes Ocado acquisition as it gears up to launch Fresh in the UK

Amazon is mulling over a move to acquire Ocado as it prepares to bring its Fresh grocery proposition to the UK, according to reports.

Shares spiked 19% this morning following “rumours in the City” that the US etail titan had appointed advisers to work on a potential approach for the business.

Analysts have previously predicted that Ocado would be the grocer that suffered most from Amazon’s seemingly imminent expansion into the UK grocery sector.

As revealed by Retail Week, Amazonagreed a 10-year lease on a former Tesco warehouse back in August, providing the clearest signal to date that it was gearing up to launch its grocery operation in the UK. 

The US etail titan has already dipped its toe into those waters after launching Amazon Pantry in November.

The service, which is available to Amazon Prime members, allows customers to shop a range of 4,000 SKUs in the grocery and household categories. Big brands including Colgate, Kellogg’s and Ariel feature among the current range.

According to The Daily Mail, a market source said Ocado would be “a perfect fit” for Amazon as it seeks to enter the fiercely competitive UK grocery market in a quick and cost-effective manner.

Ocado’s shares, which peaked at more than 600p in February 2014, closed at 242.5p yesterday but surged as high as 289.1p this morning following the reports.

Spokesmen from Ocado and Amazon both told Retail Week they did not comment on “market rumour and speculation.”

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