Amazon to buy Audible for $300 million

Amazon.com, Inc. today announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire Audible Inc.

Audible.com is the leading online provider of premium digital spoken word audio content, specializing in digital audio editions of books, newspapers and magazines, television and radio programs and original programming. Through its web sites in the US and UK and alliances in Germany and France, Audible.com offers over 80,000 programs, including audiobooks from well-known authors such as Stephen King, Thomas Friedman, and Jane Austen, and spoken word audio content from sources including The New York Times, The New Yorker, Fresh Air and Charlie Rose.

“Audible.com offers the best customer experience, the widest content selection and the broadest device compatibility in the industry,” said Steve Kessel, Amazon.com’s senior vice president for worldwide digital media, in the press release. “Working together, we can introduce more innovations and bring this format to an even wider audience.”

“This deal brings together two pioneering companies that share a long history of ceaseless focus on improving the customer experience,” said Donald Katz, founder and chief executive of Audible.com, in the press release. “We are very excited to be joining a company as innovative as Amazon.com.”

In recent months, Amazon has announced a number of innovations in the digital space, including Amazon Kindle, a revolutionary wireless portable reader that provides instant wireless downloads of more than 90,000 books, blogs, magazines and newspapers to a crisp, high-resolution electronic paper display.

Under the terms of the agreement, Amazon.com will commence a cash tender offer to purchase all of the outstanding shares of Audible.com for $11.50 per share and will assume Audible.com’s outstanding stock-based awards, for an aggregate transaction value of approximately $300 million which includes Audible.com’s cash and short-term investments at closing.

The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals, and is expected to close by the second quarter of 2008.

Source: Amazon.com, Inc.

MacDailyNews Note: Audible is the preeminent provider of spoken-word audio products for Apple’s iTunes Store.

23 Comments

  1. 1: GoogleDell phone.
    Because the Dell Ditty was such a threat to the iPod?

    2: Garmin GPS phone w/email, web etc.
    Garmin will provide a tiny amount of competition to the iPhone which isn’t a bad thing.

    3: Now Audio is bought by Amazon, a competitor to iTMS.
    It’s Audible, not Audio. It’s competition, not a replacement.

    Your comments are hyperbole.

  2. Please. Everyone knows that the ITMS exists for the whole purpose of selling iPods. It’s no big whoop if Audible content was pulled from ITMS (though it won’t be), because people will still be using the file on their iPods. And if Audible and Amazon made it impossible to put the files on iPods, then the content providers would find another company out there that would sell their books in an iPod friendly way. Why? Because iPods are 70% of the market. No one who is trying to sell product will happily neglect 70% of the market right off the top.

    This is a non-issue.

  3. @grasshopper, that’s funny, I thought the same thing, that OldCurmudgeon was Reality Check. Every little thing turned into a Chicken Little sky is falling screed.

    As for Amazon buying Audible, does this strike anyone as Microsoftian? Any potential competition being bought up? Well if Kindle doesn’t work, cause people don’t want to read a faux book, then Audible might, since they already have tons of MP3 players out there. Amazon seems to be scrambling a bit here.

  4. Conner Macbook

    Well..I know it’s an old meme but the fact is that Apple does not have anything to compare with InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, or Flash not to mention a few other core technologies that Adobe controls. Apple has always been about innovation, ease of use, and high quality design.
    Acquiring Adobe would allow them to continue to outflank
    Microsoft and be complementary to their work with Google as more and more apps move to the web.

  5. @erk Have you considered your local library? I’ve listened to several hundred audio books on my iPods at just the cost of my time ripping the books on CD to my hard disk. Most libraries now have growing collections of books on CD.

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