It turns out, Amazon owns a surprising amount of companies. Amazon started as an online bookseller in the early 1990s. The company had its Initial Public Offering (IPO) on May 15, 1997, with shares selling for $18 that valued the company at $438 million. Since then, they’ve expanded to sell almost everything for everybody. The company is now worth $859 billion with shares selling for over $1,800 apiece. Because of share splits (giving investors more shares), $1,000 invested in Amazon’s IPO is worth well over $1 million now.
How did Amazon become the retail juggernaut worth 1,961 times the company’s value since the IPO in 1997? They did this by expanding at a frenetic pace by acquiring companies and launching new brands. The new brands were bought or launched—sometimes without much fanfare just to grab market share in a wide variety of items. The idea was not just to sell stuff for other people, but also to own some of the brands. And it worked.
Business Insider reports that Amazon offers geeky things like software as a service (SaaS) in the cloud through Amazon Drive, Double Helix Games, and Twitch. They also have a complete line of low-cost high-quality over-the-counter medicines marketed as the Basic+Care brand. On top of all that, they own Audible, their own audiobook service and AbeBooks who sells rare printed books.
For makeup, Amazon owns Beauty Bar while Solimo makes deeply-discounted personal care items, exclusively for Amazon Prime members that pay a yearly annual membership. Women’s clothes are made by Ella Moon, James & Erin, Lark & Ro, and North Eleven. Men’s shirts are made by Buttoned Down and men’s clothes by Goodthreads. Men’s shoes are made by Franklin & Freeman, but they also own Zappos who sell shoes as well. If that wasn’t enough, kids clothing is offered by Scout +Ro brand.
Baby products are made by the Mama Bear brand. Tech accessories are offered by the Nupro. Bedding and linen are made by Pike Street and Pinon. Presto is a paper products company trying to challenge the industry leader Bounty. Hardware and spare parts are offered by Small Parts, and if you need furniture, they own Strathwood. They even gobbled up other shopping sites like Shopbop.
Amazon makes its own brands to create more customer loyalty and have people want to come back to them again and again. Some brands are bought by Amazon for their web traffic such as the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), Alexa, Box Office Mojo, and Goodreads.
With over $178 billion in annual revenue for 2017 that comes from online retail sales plus 90 companies owned by Amazon and the registration of over 400 trademarks, the company is well on its way to becoming the first company in the world valued at $1 trillion dollars as reported by Statistica.
That shouldn’t be a surprise though, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, is the richest man in the world, and you don’t reach those heights without owning something worth a lot of money. Still, even we didn’t expect Amazon to own that many companies!