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Amazon Acquires Woot

CEO Matt Rutledge says the online retailer that sells one item a day at a discount will continue to operate independently.
Amazon is acquiring quirky online retailer Woot, which sells one item a day at a discount. In a tongue-in-cheek letter sent to employees Wednesday, Woot chief executive Matt Rutledge said the company believed it was the "right time" to be acquired by Amazon, "because, quite simply, every company that becomes a subsidiary gets to free (MP3) downloads until the end of July."

Ruttledge said Woot, headquartered in Carrollton, Texas, would continue to operate independently, "with a wall of ideas and a dartboard."

"From a practical point of view, it will be as if we are simply adding one person to the organizational hierarchy, except that one person will just happen to be a billion-dollar company that could buy and sell each and every one of you like you were office furniture," the CEO said.

Ruttledge did not release financial details.

Woot, founded by Ruttledge in 2004, started as an employee store and market-testing site for electronics. It now has several sister sites that also sell single discounted items each day. The sites include Kids.woot, shirt.woot, sellout.woot and wine.woot. A day after announcing the Amazon acquisition, the main Woot site offered Amazon's latest Kindle electronic-book reader for $150. The device costs $189 on Amazon.

Woot is the latest of several online retailers bought by Amazon. In July 2009, Amazon announced it was buying apparel and footwear retailer Zappos.com for about $850 million in cash and stock. The purchase expanded the larger retailer's use of separately branded sites to entice shoppers.

In 2008, Amazon bought AbeBooks, an online marketplace for used, rare and out-of-print books; online fabric store Fabric.com and audio-book seller Audible.

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