Amazon Confirms Purchase of Twitch for $970 Million
By Ryan Mac for Forbes
In May, Variety first reported that Google was in talks to acquire video game streaming company Twitch for more than $1 billion. Three months later, that deal is dead. Amazon.com has just confirmed it’s purchasing Twitch for approximately $970 million.
Google was unable to close the deal, said sources familiar with the talks, because it was concerned about potential antitrust issues that could have come with the acquisition. The Mountain View, Calif. company already owns YouTube, the world’s most-visited content streaming site, which competes with Twitch to broadcast and stream live or on-demand video game sessions. One source noted that because of the concerns, Google and Twitch could not come to an agreement on the size of a potential breakup fee in case the deal did not go through.
In a press release, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said, “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. And, amazingly, Twitch is only three years old. 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.”
Neither Twitch nor Google ever publicly confirmed that it was in acquisition talks, but various publications confirmed the deal was pretty much sealed last month. Today’s reports suggest that was far from the case, as Amazon looks to add to a growing media empire that it’s established with several online television shows and a set-top content streaming box, Fire TV, launched in April.
Amazon is not known for making large acquisitions and a deal for Twitch would rank as the second-largest in its 20 year history. The Seattle retailer paid $1.2 billion for online shoe website Zappos in 2009 and $775 million for robotics company Kiva Systems two years ago.
Missing out on Twitch, which now has about 50 million monthly viewers, would represent another high-profile acquisition miss by Google. The company also pursued mobile messenger WhatsApp before it was bought by Facebook for $19 billion in February. In July, the Wall Street Journal reported that Google was also looking to buy music streaming service Spotify for around $5 billion before it got cold feet over the final price.