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Amazon plunks down $775M for order-fulfiller Kiva Systems

Kiva boasts scalable and automated material handling systems that will likely be put to work in Amazon warehouses before long.

Amazon has announced that it is planning to acquire Kiva Systems, which is known for its automated material handling order fulfillment system.

Given Kiva's scalable e-commerce and warehouse automation solutions, it seems that Amazon will be putting Kiva's resources to use for internal management related to its online retail business and warehouses worldwide.

Dave Clark, vice president of global customer fulfillment at Amazon.com, commented in a release, "Amazon has long used automation in its fulfillment centers, and Kiva's technology is another way to improve productivity by bringing the products directly to employees to pick, pack and stow."

Kiva's robotic helpers have already garnered quite a bit of attention. For example, Fast Company recently named Kiva one of the 50 most innovative companies in the world.

Under the terms of the agreement, Amazon is paying $775 million in cash for all of Kiva's outstanding shares, which have been adjusted for the assumption of options and other items.

Although Kiva's stockholders have already approved the merger, the acquisition is expected to close during the second quarter of 2012.

Once the deal has closed, Kiva Systems' offices and employees will remain in North Reading, Massachusetts rather than heading west to Amazon's Seattle headquarters.

This item first appeared on ZDNet's Between the Lines blog under the headline "Amazon acquiring Kiva Systems for $775 million."