Amazon is on an unprecedented acquisition spree, dropping $15 billion since the start of last year and buying up companies at its fastest pace since the height of the dot-com era.
With just a single buy, 2018 is already one of Amazon’s biggest years for acquisitions ever. Last week, GeekWire broke the news of Amazon’s acquisition agreement with smart doorbell maker Ring. Neither company has disclosed the price yet, but reports put it north of $1 billion.
The Ring deal makes 2018 Amazon’s third biggest acquisition year by dollar amount, behind only 2017 — headlined by the blockbuster purchase of Whole Foods — and 2009 when it acquired online clothing and shoe retailer Zappos for close to $1.2 billion.
Amazon spent a record $13.9 billion on acquisitions in 2017, the company disclosed in its annual report last month. The majority of that comes from the Whole Foods deal, which Amazon valued at $13.2 billion in its annual report versus a widely reported figure of $13.7 billion.
Amazon made 11 acquisitions total last year, based on GeekWire’s reporting. Even without the Whole Foods deal, Amazon still spent more than seven times more on acquisitions than it did in 2016. Amazon spent another $787 million on acquisitions during the year, including $583 million for Middle East e-commerce giant Souq.com.
In 1999, Amazon made nine acquisitions, according to GeekWire research, though only six appeared on its annual report that year, with a combined purchase price of $780 million. Amazon also bought stakes in a number of high profile dot-com companies like pets.com and drugstore.com at the time.
Interestingly, one of Amazon’s biggest buys that year was a $250 million acquisition of a company called Alexa Internet, which provided information about site viewership and suggested related sites. Amazon has since repurposed the Alexa name for its voice-based virtual assistant.
Ring would be Amazon’s third acquisition north of $1 billion. Facebook has also completed a triumvirate of billion-dollar deals for Instagram, Oculus and WhatsApp. Apple has only one billion-dollar acquisition in its history: headphone maker Beats for $3B. Google has completed six deals over $1 billion, with the acquisition of Motorola for $12.5 billion and Nest for $3.2 billion topping the list.
These tech giants all trail Microsoft which has made 10 buys over $1 billion in its history, headlined by the biggest deal among the big five companies — the acquisition of LinkedIn for $26.2 billion.