has acquired Zappos.com
in exchange for approximately 10 million Amazon shares, valued at some $807m as the deal was announced, plus around $40m in cash and other benefits.
"Zappos is a customer focused company," says Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com. "We see great opportunities for both companies to learn from each other and create even better experiences for our customers."
The deal will see both firms continue to operate along existing lines. The Zappos management team will remain intact and the retailer will continue to operate its successful brand, customer experience and unique culture of service independently with headquarters in Las Vegas, USA.
"We will continue to build the Zappos brand and culture in our own unique way, and we believe Amazon is the best partner to help us do this over the long term," says Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.
Hsieh told staff of the transaction in an email
, stating that in his opinion headlines like 'Amazon acquires Zappos' don't properly convey the spirit of the transaction, going on to say that he would prefer to see "Zappos and Amazon sitting in a tree".
Zappos is famous for its "Wow philosophy
", an obsession with customer service, and offers initiatives including a 365-day return period on all purchases and free shipping both ways.
The sale, which has provided an exit route
for investors including Silicon Valley venture firm Sequoia Capital, is expected to close in the autumn after getting regulatory approval.• Jane Judd, senior manager of the customer loyalty team at Zappos.com, will be speaking at our Internet Retailing '09 conference in London on Tuesday 13 October.