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Amazon.com Takes Stake in Audible

Amazon.com continued its string of content and branding deals Monday by taking a 5 percent stake in Audible Inc.

Amazon (AMZN) will dole out $18.3 million, based on Friday's closing Nasdaq price of 14-1/2 a share and 25.2 million Audible (ADBL) shares outstanding. In addition, in exchange for promotion of Audible.com's content and services, Amazon.com will receive $30 million over three years.

The alliance will give Amazon.com's customers access to over 20,000 hours of digital audio content from audible.com. audible.com features selected audio content from The Wall Street Journal and daily digests of The New York Times, San Jose Mercury News, and Los Angeles Times, as well as The Economist Audio Digest, The Industry Standard, Forbes and Harvard Business Review.

It also offers a collection of audiobook bestsellers and classics by authors such as Stephen King, John Grisham, Frank McCourt, Jon Krakauer, Scott Adams, Mary Higgins Clark, James Redfield, James Patterson, William Shakespeare and Dickinson. It also provides educational tools such as language lessons, and on-demand radio programs, including Marketplace, Car Talk, Fresh Air, and Science Friday.

All of the programs at audible.com are available for PC-based playback using AudibleReady portable digital audioplayers offered by electronics and computer manufacturers.

"Amazon.com provides the ideal platform for our audio service," said Donald Katz, founder and chairman of Audible Inc. "Our business synergy with Amazon.com's book and consumer electronics stores and their standards for customer excellence will strengthen our leadership position in the online digital spoken-word category."

Last week, Amazon.com boosted its stake in drugstore.com (DSCM), raising its stake to almost 28 percent with the $30 million investment. The e-tailer also took a 5 percent stake in online car retailer Greenlight.com.