amazon-acquisitions

Amazon Acquisitions

Amazon’s fabled eCommerce platform needs no introduction, but it may surprise some to learn that the company has made at least 91 acquisitions across numerous different industries since it was founded in 1994. 

Some of these acquisitions – which have a combined total value of $34.89 billion – are described in the following sections.

MGM

Amazon completed its acquisition of movie studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) in March 2022 in a deal worth $8.45 billion. In an interview with The Washington Post, senior vice president of Prime Video and Amazon Studios Mike Hopkins said that “MGM has a nearly century-long legacy of producing exceptional entertainment, and we share their commitment to delivering a broad slate of original films and television shows to a global audience.”

The acquisition would allow Amazon to bolster its content library with MGM’s decades of production experience on titles such as Legally Blonde and Rocky. More importantly, it would allow the company to compete with established competitors such as HBO Max and Netflix.

Whole Foods Market

Amazon purchased Whole Foods Market in 2017 for $13.7 billion in a record deal that remains its largest purchase to date.

The move was one of the company’s first serious forays into bricks-and-mortar retailing after noting that consumers stubbornly preferred to buy items such as meat and fresh produce in person.

Almost overnight, Whole Foods gave Amazon access to more than 460 stores with combined sales of $16 billion at the time.

Zoox

Amazon acquired Zoox, an autonomous driving startup, for around $1.2 billion in 2020.

Zoox decided to take one of the hardest and most complex paths in the industry, building a self-driving passenger vehicle from scratch in addition to the associated AI and software.

According to Amazon, the acquisition took place to provide Zoox with the necessary funds to bring its vision of autonomous transportation to life. However, some pundits believe the technology could also easily be used in Amazon’s logistics operations.

One Medical

Amazon’s acquisition of One Medical is relatively recent, having only been completed in July 2022 in an all-cash deal worth around $3.9 billion.

One Medical is a subscription-based primary care provider that combines digital, virtual, and in-person services that are most convenient to consumers.

Amazon paid handsomely for the company which, at $18 per share, was 77% above that day’s closing price. The motivation for the purchase was the company’s belief in a tech-based, human-centered approach to healthcare.

Zappos

Zappos is the fifth-largest acquisition of Amazon with the deal worth $1.2 billion in 2009.

Zappos was a small competitor at the time and nowhere near making a profit. What’s more, the deal was seen as somewhat unusual since Amazon promised to stay out of management decisions so long as financial objectives were met.

Bezos approached CEO Tony Hsieh with an offer to buy the company as early as 2005 and was ultimately declined. Four years later, however, and one year after the GFC, cash became harder to come by and Hsieh was more amenable to selling. The deal was eventually struck one year later.

Key takeaways:

  • Amazon is best known for its eCommerce platform and associated services, but it has made around 91 acquisitions since its inception in 1994.
  • Amazon completed its acquisition of movie studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) in March 2022 as a way to bolster its streaming line-up and become more competitive. The record acquisition of Whole Foods in 2017 marked the company’s first serious foray into bricks-and-mortar retailing.
  • Additional Amazon acquisitions include autonomous driving tech company Zoox, shoe company Zappos, and medical subscription platform One Medical.

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