After Google Bows Out, Amazon Moves In to Acquire Twitch

In recent months, we reported that Google was planning to acquire popular streaming platform for more than $1 billion. However, Google was unable to close the deal, reportedly due to concern over antitrust issues related to its streaming video site YouTube. It looks like Google’s loss is now Amazon’s gain. Yesterday, Amazon confirmed that it is purchasing San Francisco-based Twitch, which touts more than 50 million monthly users, for approximately $970 million in cash.

“Amazon is not known for making large acquisitions and a deal for Twitch could rank as largest in its 20 year history,” according to Forbes. “That record was held previously by the company’s purchase of Zappos, which came in at around $850 million at the time the acquisition was announced in July 2009. With add ons, Amazon could potentially pay up to $1.1 billion for Twitch when the deal closes, which is expected to happen in the second half of 2014.”


As we previously reported, the meteoric success of Twitch reflects the popularity of live Internet streaming and the evolving interest in competitive gaming as a spectator sport.

“Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month — from The International, to breaking the world record for Mario, to gaming conferences like E3,” said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. “Like Twitch, we obsess over customers and like to think differently, and we look forward to learning from them and helping them move even faster to build new services for the gaming community.”

News of the acquisition arrived on the same day that details were leaked about Amazon Sponsored Links, a new product designed to “directly challenge Google’s dominance of the online advertising market,” reports The Wall Street Journal.

“The firm could eventually compete head-on with Google over keyword advertising, currently dominated by the search provider’s AdWords service, but for now the plans only extend as far as replacing Google’s ads on Amazon with its own in-house creation,” suggests The Guardian.

“Amazon Sponsored Links combined with Twitch would offer Amazon an easy way to begin raising serious amounts of revenue from its live-streaming business. But the company has other investments that Twitch could pair well with,” The Guardian notes. “Amazon Game Studios was founded in 2012 to make video games for the company’s Fire line of tablets and set-top boxes.”

Time will tell how the Twitch acquisition will impact Amazon, but for now the deal represents another high-profile miss for Google. The company pursued mobile messenger WhatsApp prior to its acquisition by Facebook, and also considered purchasing music service Spotify before backing out over the price.

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