With Wednesday's acquisition of smart-doorbell maker Ring, Amazon.com Inc. is continuing to invest in owning the smart home space. One analyst said that the Seattle-based company could look to fill gaps in brick-and-mortar retail and home improvement by acquiring companies such as Target Corp. (TGT) or the privately-held Menards.
Ring, formerly known as DoorBot when it was pitched on CNBC's "Shark Tank" in 2013, makes smart doorbells that stream audio and video to users' phones. Multiple sources estimate the deal's value at above $1 billion and GBH Insights analyst Daniel Ives wrote Wednesday that though pricey, the deal will allow Amazon to continue to dominate the smart home market.
Ives maintained the firm's "highly attractive" rating and $1,850 price target on Amazon, according to his report.
Brittain Ladd, a supply chain consultant who previous worked at Amazon, said that Amazon will now essentially own the entire shopping experience from beginning to end, with its digital assistant Alexa placing orders, managing deliveries and now letting couriers into the user's home with help from Ring.
"For other companies, [smart home technology] is technology that performs a service," Ladd said. "Amazon understands that in the long term, the company needs to own the entire experience." Ladd previously worked on global expansion for Amazon's grocery segment, AmazonFresh.
Now, Ladd said the company may look to buy companies that fill its other gaps. Last year, of course, Amazon bought Whole Foods Market Inc. (WFM) for $13.7 billion. That deal gave the company a grocery retail presence, but Amazon still lacks a large brick-and-mortar presence in general retail and home improvement, Ladd said.
"I anticipate if Amazon makes additional acquisitions, [it would acquire] a department store chain like Target, or [a home improvement chain like] Lowes or Home Depot."
Ladd added, though, that even likelier than targeting companies like Lowes Companies, Inc. (LOW) or Home Depot, Inc. (HD) , Amazon would vie for a smaller home improvement chain such as the Midwestern-focused Menards Inc.
"I use the Whole Foods analogy -- Amazon easily could have bought Albertson's or Kroger, but Amazon wanted a grocery retailer with the ability to create something special," Ladd said. Acquiring Target would be an exception, though, since it would allow Amazon to sell Whole Foods products inside the store, as well as its own private label products.
With Amazon's expansion into smart home products, its venture into healthcare and potentially adding brick-and-mortar retail presence through future deals, Ladd said Amazon "will ingrain themselves into the everyday fabric of how people exist."
On Wednesday afternoon, Amazon shares were up 0.5% to $1,518.79.
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