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Amazon.com Announces Stock Split, Acquisitions

In what marked a busy start to the week for the online bookseller, Amazon.com posted stronger than expected earnings yesterday, announced the acquisition of three Internet companies, and unveiled plans for a two-for-one split of its common shares.

The company reported first quarter 1998 revenues of $87.4 million, and a net loss of $9.26 million. Sales increased 32% from $66 million reported sales for the fourth quarter December 1997. Losses translated into $0.40 a share, down slightly from a fourth quarter December 1997 loss of $9.33 million, or $0.41 per share.

Amazon.com said customer accounts rose to more than 2,260,000 as of the end of March, a 50% increase from 1997 fourth quarter numbers. Repeat customers accounted for more than 60% of 1998 first quarter orders, according to the company.

"Our strong revenue growth has now made us the third largest bookseller in the U.S., online or offline," said Jeff Bezos, president and CEO of Amazon.com. "With these acquisitions, we have accelerated our expansion into European e-commerce and acquired a foundation for a best-of-breed video store. We remain committed to moving quickly and solidify and extend our current market leadership position in books while pursuing these new opportunities."

The new Amazon.com acquisitions signal the company's foray into two new markets, the European online bookselling segment, and U.S. online video sales.

The companies are:

  • Bookpages, a leading online bookseller based in the United Kingdom.
  • Telebook, a Germany-based online bookstore featuring 400,000 German-language titles.
  • Internet Movie Database, a U.S.-based resource offering movie and television information.

Amazon.com said it would incur charges of about $55 million for all three acquisitions, and anticipates issuing approximately 540,000 shares of common stock.

In a separate announcement, Amazon.com said it approved a two-for-one split of common shares expected to be completed by June 1 of this year. Shareholders will receive one additional share for each share held on the record date of May 20, 1998.