Amazon will buy Target this year, analyst predicts

  • Beth Mellor
  • The Washington Post
6:05 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018 Business and Money news

Amazon.com's shakeup of the retail landscape may not be over, according to one well-known technology analyst.

The internet giant will acquire Target Corp., Loup Venture co-founder Gene Munster wrote in a report highlighting eight predictions for the technology industry in 2018. Amazon made waves in retailing last year with its $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods Market.

"Target is the ideal offline partner for Amazon for two reasons, shared demographic and manageable but comprehensive store count," Munster wrote, noting both companies focus on mothers and families. "Getting the timing on this is difficult, but seeing the value of the combination is easy."

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Market-share numbers suggest a deal would be approved by regulators, and Wal-Mart Stores would still have a larger share than an Amazon-Target combination, Munster said. He estimated a take-out valuation of $41 billion, or a 15 percent premium to Target's current value. Target shares rose as much as 3.1 percent as of 10:36 a.m. in New York.

Munster, 46, co-founded Loup Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on virtual reality and artificial intelligence, in early 2017. Before that, he'd worked for 21 years as an analyst at Piper Jaffray Cos., where he was known for his accuracy in predicting Apple Inc.'s financial potential.Predicting Amazon's next deal has become a common theme for analysts. In November, DA Davidson analyst Tom Forte wrote that Lululemon Athletica Inc. may be attractive to the online retailer, while Citigroup analyst Paul Lejuez recently catalogued a host of potential targets, including Abercrombie & Fitch Co., Bed Bath & Beyond and Advance Auto Parts.

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Still, Amazon may not just be interested in retail deals. Last month, CFRA bank analyst Ken Leon wrote that he foresees the internet company buying a small- or mid-sized bank in 2018.

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