Amazon.com Inc. today announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire Audible Inc.
Audible.com is the leading online provider of premium digital spoken word audio content, specializing in digital audio editions of books, newspapers and magazines, television and radio programs and original programming.
Through its web sites in the US and UK and alliances in Germany and France, Audible.com offers over 80,000 programs, including audio books from well-known authors such as Stephen King, Thomas Friedman, and Jane Austen, and spoken word audio content from sources including The New York Times, The New Yorker, Fresh Air and Charlie Rose.
"Audible.com offers the best customer experience, the widest content selection and the broadest device compatibility in the industry," said Steve Kessel, Amazon.com's senior vice president for worldwide digital media. "Working together, we can introduce more innovations and bring this format to an even wider audience."
"This deal brings together two pioneering companies that share a long history of ceaseless focus on improving the customer experience," said Donald Katz, founder and chief executive of Audible.com. "We are very excited to be joining a company as innovative as Amazon.com."
In recent months, Amazon has announced a number of innovations in the digital space, including Amazon Kindle, a wireless portable reader that provides instant wireless downloads of more than 90,000 books, blogs, magazines and newspapers to a crisp, high-resolution electronic paper display.
Amazon has also announced earlier last week that it is going deploy its music MP3 store (which sells DRM-less songs) outside the US.
With the latest announcement, it looks set that Amazon.com is looking to mount a serious challenge to iTunes.
Under the terms of the agreement, Amazon.com will commence a cash tender offer to purchase all of the outstanding shares of Audible.com for $11.50 per share and will assume Audible.com's outstanding stock-based awards, for an aggregate transaction value of approximately $300 million which includes Audible.com's cash and short-term investments at closing.