Amazon to Acquire Live-Streaming Service Twitch for Nearly $1 Billion

1:07 PM PST 08/25/2014 by Natalie Jarvey
@twitch/Twitter

The deal comes after months of speculation that Google would acquire the San Francisco startup

Despite months of speculation that Google would acquire live-streaming service Twitch, it's Amazon that has finally sealed the deal.

The Seattle-based tech giant has agreed to purchase Twitch for $970 million in cash. The deal is expected to close in the second half of the year.

"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 3 years old," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said. "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," added Twitch CEO Emmett Shear. "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."

Tech blog VentureBeat and several other outlets reported in July that Google had finalized talks to acquire Twitch and would operate the company through its YouTube division. The Wall Street Journal also reported that Yahoo, which has a video streaming service of its own, courted the San Francisco startup.

Twitch, an online platform for gamers to broadcast their play to live audiences, had more than 55 million unique visitors in July. During that month, more than 1 million broadcasters streamed more than 15 billion minutes of content.

The deal will boost Amazon's growing video business as it looks to compete with streamers such as Netflix, Hulu and YouTube. The company, which allows gaming through its Fire TV set-top box, currently offers streaming through Amazon Instant Video. Subscribers to the $99 Amazon Prime service also have access to the company's content library — and originals such as dramedy Transparent and sci-fi drama The After — through Prime Instant Video.

Twitch was founded as a gaming hub in 2011 out of live-streaming site Justin.tv, which the company shuttered earlier this month.

The streaming platform has grown popular among competitive gamers and has become the primary broadcasting platform for the growing industry of e-sports. The company also has experimented with expanding beyond gaming, serving up premieres of video game-centric documentaries and even broadcasting a live Steve Aoki concert.

The deal was first reported by tech blog The Information.

Email: Natalie.Jarvey@THR.com
Twitter: @NatJarv

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