Amazon To Buy Woot

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Carrollton, Texas -

, the quirky direct-sale distributor known for its daily single-item blow-out sales, is being acquired by


The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.

Terms weren't disclosed, although reports put the price tag at $110 million in cash.

Woot will continue to operate as an independent subsidiary, Amazon said, much as its recent Zappos and acquisitions.

Woot's sharp pricing, limited deal-of-the-day offers and irreverent tone have helped it amass nearly 3 million registered customers since it was founded in 2004. The site's cheeky personality was reflected in an open letter to employees posted yesterday by CEO Matt Rutledge. "We're still going to be the same old bottom-feeders our customers and readers have come to know and love," he wrote. "For Woot, our vision remains the same: somehow earning a living on snarky commentary and junk."

Woot's first deal-of-the-day in the wake of the announcement is an Amazon Kindle, on sale today for $150 plus $5 shipping.

According to the local Dallas Morning News, Woot stemmed from a 1994 startup that sold outdated computer components. Woot was later formed to sell off excess inventory, and the two operations merged in 2005. Amazon acquired a minority stake in the business in 2006.

The newspaper pegged Woot's annual sales at $164 million in 2008, the last year it reported revenue. The CE site has since launched several specialty offshoots including Kids.woot, Wine.woot and Shirt.woot.

In a statement, Amazon said the acquisition will "foster the long-term growth of Woot, allowing it to continue its passion for serving customers with low prices across a broad selection of products."

Added Rutledge in his letter: "Our business model is so vague that there's no way Amazon can possibly change what it is we're truly doing: preparing the way for the rise of the Lava Men in 2012."


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