Amazon has confirmed today that it had reached an agreement to acquire the game livestreaming service Twitch for $970 million in cash. The acquisition is expected to close in the second half of 2014.
According to an earlier report Google was in the talks to acquire Twitch, but a new report from the Wall Street Journal states the deal had fallen off in recent weeks, and Amazon showed interest instead. The news was confirmed by Twitch, who stated that the online retailer made an agreement with Twitch shareholders to purchase remaining shares for "approximately $970 million in cash, as adjusted for the assumption of options and other items".
"Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month — from The International, to breaking the world record for Mario, to gaming conferences like E3. And, amazingly, Twitch is only three years old," said Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon.com in a prepared statement. "Like Twitch, we obsess over customers and like to think differently, and we look forward to learning from them and helping them move even faster to build new services for the gaming community."
"Amazon and Twitch optimize for our customers first and are both believers in the future of gaming," Twitch CEO Emmett Shear stated in a release. "Being part of Amazon will let us do even more for our community. We will be able to create tools and services faster than we could have independently. This change will mean great things for our community, and will let us bring Twitch to even more people around the world."
Shear continued to thank the Twitch community for their contributions and for "sticking with us through growing pains and stumbles" in a letter posted to the company's official website.
"We chose Amazon because they believe in our community, they share our values and long-term vision, and they want to help us get there faster," Shear wrote. "We're keeping most everything the same: our office, our employees, our brand, and most importantly our independence. But with Amazon's support we'll have the resources to bring you an even better Twitch."
Twitch was founded in 2011 as a gaming-focused branch of the video-streaming site Justin.TV. It managed to bring in more than 45 million unique monthly viewers on average in 2013, with 58% of said viewers spending more than 20 hours per week on the service. Earlier this year, the service boasted to 55 million visitors per month, and more than 1 million monthly broadcasters.