RealTime IT News

Amazon Acquires Three Web Firms For $645 Million

Burgeoning e-tailer Amazon.com went on a shopping spree, acquiring three e-commerce companies in an all-stock deal totaling $645 million.

The Seattle giant late Monday purchased three privately held companies, including Cambridge, Mass.-based e-commerce marketplace Exchange.com, which operates Bibliofind an antiquarian and used books site and Musicfile, a site featuring hard-to-find music and memorabilia, with 3 million items for sale and auction.

In addition, Amazon is acquiring Accept.com, a Redwood, Calif.-based person-to-person and business-to-consumer transaction site and San Francisco-based free advertising-supported Web navigation serviceAlexa Internet.

Amazon said it will acquire all outstanding shares and assume all outstanding options of the three companies. While the transactions are subject to shareholder approval, the company expects to finalize the deals by June 30.

"This is a win for Amazon.com customers because it further increases our selection of rare and obscure items,'' said Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive officer of Amazon.com, "and it's a win for the thousands of independent dealers on Bibliofind.com and MusicFile.com who will now be able to reach our 8 million experienced online shoppers."

In a separate announcement, Amazon said it is making a bid to enter the popular online greeting card business and is launching a line of free e-cards, a service offering more than 800 cards in 45 categories, expected to debut later this week.

The interactive cards are Internet-readable only. Users will be able to write their own messages and design the cards using a database of hundreds of illustrations, animations and photographs.

Amazon comes into the e-card field facing competition from established sites including free, ad revenue-generating player Blue Mountain Arts, of Boulder, Colo. as well as Hallmark, although its cards aren't free.