Updated throughout at 1:10 PT to reflect the official news of Amazon’s acquisition.
How’s this for a twist: Amazon has agreed to acquire video game live streaming site Twitch in a deal valued at almost $1 billion. the news was first reported Monday morning by the Information and the Wall Street Journal.
The acquisition would be a big get for Amazon, and a notable upset for Google, which had been in talks to buy Twitch for $1 billion in May. Rumors about Google’s deal to acquire Twitch and integrate it into YouTube had been bubbling up over the summer, but the Journal reported Monday that the talks between the two companies “cooled in recent weeks.”
Meanwhile, Twitch has been preparing itself for an acquisition with the closure of its Justin.tv live streaming service as well as the introduction of copyright filters for music on Twitch.tv. Twitch may be an unknown for many mainstream consumers, but the site does an impressive business streaming video gameplay much like a sports league streams sporting events like football or soccer. According to the Amazon release last month more than 55 million unique visitors viewed more than 15 billion minutes of content on Twitch produced by more than 1 million broadcasters.
The deal makes sense for Amazon which is both a growing streaming video provider looking for entertainment options, and could also be a good place to advertise its growing array of products and services. According to the Amazon press release the retailer will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Twitch for approximately $970 million in cash. Twitch’s shareholders have approved the deal and it is expected to close in the second half of 2014.