We visualize Amazon's top acquisitions, from high-impact strategic moves, such as buying Whole Foods, to acquisitions that fell flat, like Quidsi.
Amazon has traditionally been a conservative buyer. Despite the historic Whole Foods mega-acquisition ($13.7B) — as well as a few big-name purchases like shoe retailer Zappos ($1.2B, 2009) and smart doorbell system Ring ($1.2B, 2018) — on the whole Amazon has historically been far less prone to acquisitions than its tech giant rivals.
But the tide could be turning. In 2017, Amazon made a record 11 acquisitions, while in 2019 YTD it’s already made 5 acquisitions — matching its total acquisitions for FY 2018.
Using CB Insights M&A data, we made a visual timeline of the largest acquisitions in the company’s history. See a list of the top 10 below.
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Amazon’s top acquisitions
1. Whole Foods ($13.7B, 2017) dwarfs Amazon’s second-largest acquisition by more than 10x. The acquisition dramatically expanded Amazon’s brick-and-mortar footprint, as well as giving Amazon a much stronger position in grocery delivery that capitalizes on Whole Foods’ large and loyal customer base.
2. Ring ($1.2B, 2018) is a Wi-Fi-enabled doorbell that streams live video of a home’s doorstep to a smartphone or tablet. The acquisition helped strengthen Amazon’s smart home offerings, and literally opened the door for Amazon couriers to leave packages inside customers’ houses.
3. Zappos ($1.2B, 2009) was Amazon’s first $1B+ acquisition. Known for its unique culture and customer-centric ethos, Zappos fit neatly with Jeff Bezos’ relentless customer-focused approach and brought an online competitor into the Amazon fold.
4. PillPack ($1B, 2018), the most recent of Amazon’s 10 largest acquisitions, notably confirmed Amazon’s long-rumored entry in healthcare. The markets reacted accordingly, with share prices for several incumbent pharma companies diving nearly 10% on the news.
5. Twitch Interactive ($970M, 2014) is a video game platform and community. The deal raised eyebrows at the time, but Amazon has since capitalized on Twitch’s fiercely loyal fan base to gain a competitive advantage as major tech companies zero in on cloud-based gaming as a big emerging market.
6. Kiva Systems ($775M, 2012), a robotic fulfillment system manufacturer, was the one of Amazon’s most impactful acquisitions to its long-term business — no e-commerce competitor has yet been able to rival Amazon’s warehouse automation.
7. Souq.com ($580M, 2017), based in Dubai, gave Amazon a beachhead in the growing Middle Eastern market. International expansion remains a focal point of Amazon’s strategy, particularly in emerging markets.
8. Quidsi ($500M, 2011), the parent company of Diapers.com, was one of Amazon’s largest acquisitions at the time. Just a few years after the deal, Quidsi co-founder and co-CEO Marc Lore left to launch Jet.com, which Walmart subsequently acquired for $3.3B in 2016. Amazon ultimately shut down Quidsi in 2017, citing profitability concerns.
9. Annapurna Labs ($370M, 2015), an Israel-based semiconductor startup, was reportedly acquired with cloud computing in mind. Annapurna’s chip technology was subsequently used to make Amazon’s cloud business, AWS, more cost-effective to run.
10. LOVEFiLM International ($312M, 2011) represented one of Amazon’s earlier forays into content streaming, back when the DVDs-by-mail model was still robust and online streaming was only beginning to achieve widespread popularity. Six years later, with DVD rentals all but extinct, Amazon shuttered the company.
- At a whopping $13.7B, Amazon’s Whole Foods deal is by far its largest acquisition, more than 10x the value of Amazon’s purchases of Zappos or Ring (both $1.2B).
- Amazon spent more than $20B to make its top 10 acquisitions.
- Eight of Amazon’s top acquisitions were valued at $500M+, including 4 deals worth $1B+.
- The top 10 deals reflect Amazon’s extremely diverse business interests: media and content (LOVEFiLM, Twitch), e-commerce (Souq, Quidsi, Zappos), computing hardware (Annapurna Labs), robotics (Kiva Systems), smart homes (Ring), and healthcare (PillPack).
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