Amazon.com is no stranger to the startup world. So it didn’t come as a surprise when the e-commerce giant announced on Monday that it would acquire videogame streaming company Twitch Interactive Inc. in a $970 million cash deal.
What did come as a surprise, however, was the number of other big suitors jockeying to acquire Twitch, including Internet kingpin Google. According to a May story in Variety, Google-owned YouTube was close to clinching a $1 billion deal with the company. Other reportedly interested buyers included Microsoft Corporation and Yahoo Inc.
In the end, Amazon was the victor in sealing the deal with the three-year-old startup. Antitrust concerns prevented YouTube from finalizing a buyout, Forbes reported, because of its direct competition with Twitch in streaming live and on-demand videogame sessions.
Under the terms of the agreement, which has been approved by Twitch’s shareholders, Amazon will acquire all outstanding shares of the company for about $970 million in cash. The deal is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to be completed in the second half of 2014.
San Francisco-based Twitch specializes in streaming live videos of people playing video games, attracting about 55 million unique users last month alone.
“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,” said Twitch CEO Emmett Shear in a letter to the Twitch community. “We’re keeping most everything the same: our office, our employees, our brand, and most importantly our independence.”
To secure the deal, Amazon turned to Debevoise & Plimpton for counsel. Corporate partner William Regner led the team composed of tax partner Michael Bolotin, executive compensation and employee benefits partner Lawrence Cagney, corporate intellectual property partner Jeffrey Cunard, litigation partner Gary Kubek and litigation counsel Kyra Bromley.
Twitch in-house counsel Elizabeth Baker began her career at Latham & Watkins, and continues to call upon the firm for outside counsel, including on the Amazon transaction.
Latham corporate partners Luke Bergstrom and Kathleen Wells led the Silicon Valley-based legal team for Twitch. Also advising were counsel Evan Smith, intellectual property partner JD Marple, antitrust partners Joshua Holian and Karen Silverman, employee benefits and compensation partner Jay Metz and tax partners Kirt Switzer and Grace Chen.
Latham associates on the deal included Una Au, Heather Bromfield, Richard Burson, Lilly Fang, Steven Madrid, Owais Mahesri, Arielle Singh and Vanessa Wu.
The firm is fresh off of advising private equity firm Energy Capital Partners in its $3.45 billion asset sale to Dynegy Inc. last week.