Amazon.com, Inc. Acquires ComiXology: 4 Big Questions Answered

Another innovator gets taken out of IPO contention as Amazon acquires ComiXology for an undisclosed sum.

Apr 11, 2014 at 5:34AM
New Comixology Logo

Say goodbye to another potential IPO winner, Fool. Amazon.com, (NASDAQ:AMZN) has scooped up digital comic book distributor ComiXology. Terms weren't disclosed.

Smart move. In 2012, comiXology ranked as the third highest-grossing app on the iPad. Readers tend to download at least 8 million digital works monthly, on par or better than the print alternatives that arrive in comics shops each week.

"ComiXology will retain its identity as an Amazon subsidiary and we're not anywhere near done 'taking comics further.' We are confident that – with Amazon by our side, who shares our desire for innovation and a relentless focus on customers – we've only just begun," co-founder and CEO David Steinberger said in a statement posted at the ComiXology website.

In an emailed statement, Amazon confirmed that Steinberger would continue as CEO and that the company plans to "invest in and grow the team." And how will ComiXology add value to Amazon? What will the deal mean for the industry as a whole? I asked ComiXology VP of Communications and Marketing Chip Mosher. Here are his answers.

1. Steinberger said in his statement that comiXology isn't done taking comics further. Good. That presumes nothing on the roadmap changes -- can you tell us more about what's next in terms of new publishing deals, etc.?

"Nothing to announce today, but we expect we'll find ways to make both Comixology and Kindle work better together."

2. What can you do with Amazon that you couldn't do before?

"Our goal is to build on each other's strengths and create the best service for all comic and graphic novel readers – current and new – on any platform. ComiXology has created a best-in-class experience with Guided View that's enjoyed by fans on any platform and we expect to keep it that way. And for readers who also own a Kindle, we look forward to integrating the comiXology experience over time."

3. Amazon has a history of disrupting businesses, yet you've taken care to align your interests with that of small comics retailers. Should they now be worried? If not, why not?

"No. Amazon has a long history with subsidiaries like Goodreads, Zappos, Audible, and IMDb, of helping them grow and, over time, learning from each other and improving together."

4. Why take this deal and not go to IPO?

"We're super excited about this announcement. It's the right deal, with the right companies. Amazon and comiXology share a passion for making comics and graphic novels easy to enjoy anywhere on any device. ComiXology reinvented the digital comics experience with Guided View technology and Amazon reinvented reading with Kindle. Together we'll continue to innovate on behalf of readers, publishers, writers and artists. Our goal is to build on each other's strengths and create the best service for all comic and graphic novel readers on any platform with comics content for every age, gender, and demographic."

Now it's your turn to weigh in. What do you think of Amazon acquiring ComiXology? Would you have preferred the company remain independent? Leave a comment to let us know your take, including whether you would buy, sell, or short Amazon stock at current prices.

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Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Apple at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com and Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com and Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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