Amazon has confirmed the agreement that will allow it to acquire all of Audible.com, the largest distributor online of books in audio format, with about 80 thousand downloadable titles and optimized for reproduction on iPods and other Mp3 players.
The purchase, whose total value has been estimated at about $ 300 million, will be completed in the second quarter of 2008.
Amazon’s offer of $ 11.5 per share represents an appreciation of 23 percent over the market value of Audible’s shares, which previously quoted at $ 9.33. The value offered by Amazon is, however, much lower than the price of Audible just two months ago, when the company’s shares were traded at $ 14.22.
Behind the purchase may be the desire of Amazon to further expand its offer of downloadable audio content, joining Audible audiobooks to the Amazon Music Store, for a strategy of direct competition with Apple’s iTunes Store. With the purchase of Audible, Amazon will also be able to inject a new lease of life into its e-book reader, the Kindle, a product whose sales and impact have not been meeting the company’s expectations.
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