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Amazon will buy Target this year, Loup's Gene Munster predicts

[LONDON] Inc.'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 US$13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods Market Inc.

"Target is the ideal offline partner for Amazon for two reasons, shared demographic and manageable but comprehensive store count," Mr 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." Market-share numbers suggest a deal would be approved by regulators, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc would still have a larger share than an Amazon-Target combination, Mr Munster said. He estimated a take-out valuation of US$41 billion, or a 15 per cent premium to Target's current value.

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 Inc and Advance Auto Parts Inc.

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

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