Amazon acquires Audible for $300 million

The deal for the audiobook seller, another indicator of the online retailer's confidence in the digital-content market, is expected to close midyear.

Amazon.com announced Thursday that it has acquired audiobook company Audible.

The deal comes with a price tag of about $300 million in cash and short-term investments, and it is expected to be completed by the second quarter of this year.

Audible, which was founded in 1997 and operates services in the United States and United Kingdom, as well as operations in Germany and France, sells more than 80,000 audio versions of books, newspapers, and magazines, as well as television and radio content.

"Audible.com offers the best customer experience, the widest content selection, and the broadest device compatibility in the industry," Steve Kessel, Amazon's senior vice president of worldwide digital media, said in a statement from the two companies. "Working together, we can introduce more innovations and bring this format to an even wider audience."

Amazon's interest in the digital-content market has become more and more evident in recent months, with the November release of its Kindle e-book reader, which can play audiobooks. Last year, Amazon also launched Amazon MP3, a music store that competes directly with Apple's iTunes.

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