Amazon is a consumer e-commerce platform with a diversified business model spanning across e-commerce, cloud, advertising, streaming, and more. Over the years Amazon acquired several companies. Among its 12 subsidiaries, Amazon has AbeBooks.com, Audible, CamiXology, Fabric.com, IMDb, PillPack, Shopbop, Souq.com, Twitch, Whole Foods Market, Woot! and Zappos.
Amazon has many known subsidiaries, with a culture of mergers and acquisitions starting in the late 1990s after an IPO amid the dot-com bubble.
When many of these dot-com companies went bankrupt in the early 2000s, the company became more cautious and only invested in two companies between 2000 and 2004.
In 2005, however, the strategy recommenced in earnest as Amazon acquired a mixture of media websites and online retailers.
From 2011 onward, the company broadened its focus with acquisitions in the pharmaceutical, live streaming, and grocery industries to name just a few.
While we could never list them all, below is a selection of five Amazon subsidiaries.
Read: Amazon Business Model.
Whole Foods Market
Whole Foods Market is a multinational supermarket chain with a particular focus on organic food choices that are free from artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.
The chain has more than 500 stores across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Amazon purchased Whole Foods Market in 2017 for more than $13 billion.
At the time, the chain was struggling to compete against grocery chains such as Kroger and Safeway that were undercutting its organic food prices.
Read: Amazon Business Model.
Twitch is a video live streaming platform for esports and video game broadcasts, real-life streams, and other creative content.
Twitch emerged from the popular video game category of Justin.tv in 2011 with a newly formed parent company known as Twitch Interactive.
Three years later, Amazon purchased the company in a deal worth $970 million.
This gave Amazon a significant presence in video games and immersive technology – both lucrative industries that are redefining the ways consumers interact online.
Read: Amazon Business Model.
Souq is an eCommerce company that was founded in 2005 by Ronaldo Mouchawar.
Souq operates the largest such platform in the Middle Eastern market, selling millions of products in consumer electronics, healthcare, fashion, and homewares.
Souq became an Amazon subsidiary in March 2017 in a deal worth $580 million in cash.
The acquisition allowed Amazon to further its intentions to become a global leader in eCommerce.
It also allowed the company to establish itself in a new and rapidly growing market, with only 2% of consumers in the Middle East purchasing online at that point.
Zoox is an Amazon subsidiary that produces autonomous vehicles in the form of robot-taxis for mobility-as-a-service (Maas).
The company was originally founded by Australian designer Tim Kentley-Klay and Jesse Levison – son of Apple chairman Arthur – who was creating self-driving technology whilst studying at Stanford University.
Zoox is a relatively recent addition to the Amazon family, having only been purchased in June 2020 for around $1.2 billion.
The acquisition was seen as a way for Amazon to compete with Waymo, an autonomous vehicle project run by Google.
Audible is an online podcast and audiobook service that was founded in 1997 by Don Katz.
The company released a portable media player of the same name where users could download and store audiobooks from the official website.
In 2003, Audible became the sole provider of audiobooks for the Apple iTunes store.
Audible was ultimately acquired by Amazon in 2008 for $300 million, allowing the company to add more than 80,000 audiobooks, newspapers, and magazines to its vast online library.
In July 2022, Amazon announced it would be acquiring healthcare clinic chain One Medical in an all-cash transaction worth approximately $3.9 billion.
The eCommerce behemoth outbid pharmacy chain CVS Health who put an offer forward a few months prior.
The One Medical acquisition enabled Amazon to expand its reach into healthcare alongside Amazon Care, a provider of virtual and in-home care services to individuals as well as other companies.
With Amazon Care and One Medical under its umbrella, the move was framed as a broader objective to reinvent the healthcare system.
At present, customers are required to book an appointment, wait for weeks or even months to be seen, secure time off work, and then often wait for hours before spending just a few minutes in front of the doctor.
In the press release announcing the deal, SVP of Amazon Health Services Neil Lindsay explained that the current system was ripe for disruption with a human-centered and technology-powered approach.
“We see lots of opportunity to both improve the quality of the experience and give people back valuable time in their days,” he explained.
It was hoped that an increase in efficiency would also make the healthcare system more affordable, accessible, and even enjoyable for both patients and healthcare providers.
Amazon also announced it would be acquiring consumer robot company iRobot in August 2022 for around $1.7 billion.
However, the deal is currently subject to FTC approval with the federal body raising antitrust concerns.
Almost immediately after the deal was announced, organizations such as Color of Change and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters voiced their concerns in an open letter.
Chief among these concerns was the potential for Amazon to collect private data from the Roomba vacuum cleaner about the layout of customers’ homes or their particular lifestyles.
The coalition of two dozen organizations was also fearful that the deal would enable Amazon to obtain a monopoly in the home tech sector.
They posited that Amazon could sell the Roomba at a loss and force other operators (without Amazon’s trove of data) out of the market.
One month later, in September, the FTC made a second request which CNN called “an indicator of deeper scrutiny by antitrust officials.”
Some see the interest and involvement of the FTC as part of a renewed focus on Big Tech monopolies, with chairwoman Lina Khan having a history of targeting the practices of Apple, Google, and Meta.
More than one year earlier in July 2021, however, Amazon filed a motion to the FTC noting that Khan’s previous criticism of Amazon made her too biased to deal with the company fairly. “A reasonable observer would conclude that she no longer can consider the company’s antitrust defenses with an open mind,” part of the motion said.
Despite Amazon’s best efforts, Khan remains chairperson of the FTC and more recently has been involved in scrutinizing Microsoft’s intention to acquire Activision Blizzard.
Woot is an American eCommerce company that was founded by entrepreneur Matt Rutledge. Woot was launched in 2004 as a daily deal site where Rutledge offered one product per day at a heavily discounted price.
Woot experienced four years of rapid growth between 2004 and 2008 and was subsequently acquired by Amazon in 2010 for a reported $110 million.
Rutledge retained his role as CEO, but under Amazon’s ownership, Woot’s simple business model became more complex. Primarily, the platform moved away from the deal-of-the-day approach and instead featured a broader assortment of discounts.
Ring is a smart home and home security company that manufactures surveillance products. Ring started life as Doorbot in 2013 and was founded by Jamie Siminoff.
When Siminioff pitched his idea on an episode of TV series Shark Tank, investor and consumer interest in the company grew and it was later rebranded.
Amazon purchased Ring in 2018 for around $1 billion but had previously invested in the company via its investment arm Alexa Fund.
The purchase was part of the company’s wider move into home security after partnering with lock manufacturers Yale and Kwikset for in-home delivery service Amazon Key.
Amazon Studios is the company’s television and film production subsidiary that was started in the latter half of 2010. Produced content is shown in streaming service Amazon Prime Video and also in cinemas.
Amazon studios started by developing movies and television shows from online submissions and crowd-sourced feedback.
The company had received around 10,000 submissions by late 2012 and users were paid various amounts according to whether scripts were accepted for development or made into full-budget films.
In April 2018, however, the company announced it would no longer accept screenplay submissions. Three years later, parent company Amazon acquired Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) in a multi-billion dollar deal.
Amazon Pharmacy is a relatively recent addition to Amazon’s portfolio of subsidiaries. It was launched in November 2020 to offer prescription medication delivery to customers in the United States.
Amazon Pharmacy allows customers to order medication online and have it delivered to their doorstep.
Prime members can access free, two-day home delivery but are required to create a secure pharmacy profile that details their medical and insurance information.
The service is frequently described as a disruptor in the retail pharmacy sector. Indeed, on the day it was launched, competitor drugstores, distributors, and health insurers lost a combined $22 billion in market value.
Book Depository is an online bookseller based in the UK that was founded in 2004 by Andrew Crawford and Stuart Felton.
The company specializes in offering a wide range of titles and has become popular with consumers for its extensive catalog, competitive prices, and free worldwide delivery.
Amazon acquired Book Depository in 2011 for an undisclosed sum. At the time, there were concerns over the company’s dominance in the UK market with the acquisition enabling it to become a near-monopoly bookseller.
Today, Book Depository continues to operate as a separate entity.
History of Amazon with Brad Store
- Amazon has many known subsidiaries thanks to a culture of mergers and acquisitions that started in the late 1990s. Perhaps its most high-profile acquisition was Whole Food Markets in 2017 for $13 billion.
- Amazon also owns video live streaming service Twitch and eCommerce company Souq, the largest such platform in the Middle East.
- Other Amazon subsidiaries include audiobook platform Audible and autonomous vehicle company Zoox.
Which companies are owned by Amazon?
Amazon owns hundreds of private labels, among which some are branded under the Amazon Basic umbrella. In addition, Amazon acquired AbeBooks.com, Audible, CamiXology, Fabric.com, IMDb, PillPack, Shopbop, Souq.com, Twitch, Whole Foods Market, Woot!, and Zappos.
Who owns most of Amazon?
Jeff Bezos is the primary owner of Amazon. With 64,588,418 shares, Jeff Bezos is the primary individual investor. Bezos owns 12.7% of the company.
Does Jeff Bezos own all of Amazon?
As of 2021, Bezos owned 12.7% of Amazon. It’s critical to understand that over the years, Amazon took various venture capital investments, and as a listed company, part of the ownership is public. Thus, Bezos retained a significant stake in Amazon, valued at over $100 billion.
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