Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) is buying popular supermarket chain Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, TheStreet reported Friday morning. The deal is the priciest in Amazon's history, with the former high-water mark being the $1.2 billion Jeff Bezos and co. shelled out for online shoe store Zappos. That's a fraction of the near-$14 billion being paid for Whole Foods, but Amazon--the company that saw its stock price exceed $1,000 per share earlier this month--can probably afford it. And while it would be Jeff Bezos' priciest acquisition, it certainly wouldn't be his company's first.
Amazon's shares rose 1.6% to $992.56 on Friday morning.
Here are the 7 biggest purchases that the online retail giant has made:
IMDB was one of Amazon's very first acquisitions, bought in 1998 for approximately $55 million, and it has remained among the company's most popular subsidiaries. The database attracts over 190 million monthly users, and is the largest movie website in the world. IMDB also owns this author's favorite website, Box Office Mojo, which reports box office figures for current films as well as acting as a database for the performance of older films. Considering the wide usage of both IMDB and Box Office Mojo across the movie industry and casual film buffs, Amazon has seen a considerable ROI for this early acquisition.
Amazon acquired Audible in early 2008, shortly after the first Kindle was released. The audio entertainment company, founded in 1997, was bought for a cool $300 million by Jeff Bezos' company. It was a worthwhile investment--Audible stands today as the world's largest seller of downloadable audiobooks and other spoken word content, producing over 350,000 audio programs per year.
This popular online shoe shop saw monumental rates of revenue growth in the early aughts, jumping from $1.6 million in revenue to $1 billion in annual sales from 2000 to 2008. The year after the company hit the magical $1 billion mark, it was snatched up by Amazon. The deal closed in November 2009, with Amazon paying $1.2 billion in stock for Zappos. The company has remained a hot seller of shoes for Jeff Bezos and co.
A social cataloging website that doubles as a database for books, Goodreads was launched in January 2007, and grew popular very quickly. By the end of that year the site had 650,000 members, and by 2013 that number had exploded to 20 million. It didn't take long for Amazon to throw its hat into the ring--in March 2013, the company announced its acquisition of Goodreads for an undisclosed sum. It was the second book cataloging site that Amazon had purchased: the less-popular Shelfari had been acquired in 2008. Last year, Amazon announced that Goodreads would absorb Shelfari, and that over 50 million user reviews had been posted on the Goodreads website.
ComiXology was originally launched in 2007 as an online forum for comic book lovers; in 2009, it shifted its focus to the digital distribution of comic books. It was pretty successful; in 2012, its mobile app was one of the top 3 best-sellers for the iPad, and the company was called "the iTunes of comic books" in a New York Times profile. When Amazon purchased ComiXology in April 2014, however, the app was removed from the Apple system, which prompted an outcry from fans. Amazon has since restored the app to the app store, and just recently made the comic display available through Kindle, giving ComiXology subscribers reason to rejoice. The comic book company now has over 100,000 digital comics.
This live-streaming video platform is a resource for gamers, as it streams game-play for popular video games. It was founded in 2011, and by 2013 already had 45 million viewers. Amazon acquired Twitch the following year for $970 million in cash, as the platform was already responsible for the largest share of live video streaming in volume in the United States. The video game streamer has only expanded its reach since being acquired by Amazon: the first TwitchCon was held in 2015, attracting 20,000 video game lovers. That number nearly doubled at the 2016 convention, and larger numbers still are expected for TwitchCon 2k17.
Earlier this year, Amazon fended off Emaar Malls' rival $800 million bid to acquire the e-commerce platform Souq.com, a retail giant in the Middle East. The website was founded in 2005, and sells over 400,000 products. How much Amazon ultimately shelled out was not disclosed, but whatever the amount, it was likely a worthwhile investment for the company. Having Souq.com as a subsidiary gives Amazon a global reach, and an inheritance of 23 million online visits per month. Coupled with the Whole Foods deal, this acquisition is evidence of a very successful 2017.