Amazon buying for $300M

January 31, 2008 9:00:58 AM PST
Internet retailer Inc. said Thursday it will buy online audiobook provider Audible Inc. to expand its reach in digital audio content. Amazon expects the deal, valued at about $300 million, will help bring to a broader audience's more than 80,000 programs, which include audiobooks and spoken-word audio content from news outlets such as The New York Times and The New Yorker.

The deal is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2008.

Amazon shares fell $1.85, or 2.5 percent, to $72.36 in midday trading Thursday.

The company said late Wednesday that its fourth-quarter profit more than doubled and forecast strong sales growth for the coming year, but gave operating income guidance below Wall Street expectations.

Audible shares rose $2.07, or 22 percent, to $11.40 in midday trading Thursday.

Under the agreement, Amazon will buy all outstanding Audible shares for $11.50 apiece and take on the company's outstanding stock-based awards. Amazon said the deal includes Audible's cash and short-term investments.

Audible, a leading provider of audio literature, specializes in the spoken experience, providing digital audio editions of books, newspapers and magazines, original programming, and TV and radio subscriptions.

The Newark, N.J.-based company is a top provider of spoken-word content at Amazon and Apple Inc.'s iTunes store, and its downloads are compatible with more than 500 devices, including Apple's market-leading iPods.

Most of its customers download audio to their computers and then transfer the audio to digital media players, personal digital assistants or to smart mobile devices for listening on the go.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)