Amazon to pay $1.1 billion for videogame streaming site Twitch

August 25, 2014, 6:34 PM UTC
Photo by Bloomberg — Getty Images

Amazon (AMZN) is shelling out $1.1 billion to buy Twitch, a live-streaming service for videogamers.

The deal is expected to close in the second half of this year, the company announced Monday.

Amazon will pay $970 million in cash for the company. Including retention bonuses and other payments, the total purchase value is $1.1 billion, sources with knowledge of the matter confirmed.

The purchase follows earlier reports that Google (GOOG) had been in talks to acquire Twitch for a similar sum, though talks trailed of in recent weeks, people familiar told The Wall Street Journal.

“Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month,” said Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. “We look forward to learning from them and helping them move even faster to build new services for the gaming community.”

Twitch, which launched in 2011, allows gamers to upload live feeds of themselves playing games that are then watched from videogame consoles. More than 55 million visitors viewed over 15 billion minutes of content on the site last month, and more than 1 billion broadcasters, including individual gamers, pro players and developers, uploaded content.

Twitch raised $20 million from investors in September, including Thrive Capital and Take-Two Interactive Software (TTWO).

Twitch will maintain its operating independence, as well as its employees and brands, according to the company’s statement.

“The moment we launched, we knew we had stumbled across something special,” Emmett Shear, CEO of Twitch, said in a note to users. “But what followed surprised us as much as anyone else, and the impact it’s had on both the community and us has been truly profound.”

“We chose Amazon because they believe in our community, they share our values and long-term vision, and they want to help us get there faster,” he said.

(This story was updated with additional information confirming the acquisition)