Wednesday, July 22, 2009

From A to Z: Amazon becomes sole Zappos stockholder

Breaking News: $807 million in Amazon stock. $40 million in cash & restricted stock. Break out the bubbly! (this is another breakdown going around)

Letter from Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos:

The following email was sent to our employees today:

Date: Wed, 22 Jul 2009
From: Tony Hsieh (CEO -
To: All Zappos Employees
Subject: Zappos and Amazon

Please set aside 20 minutes to carefully read this entire email. (My apologies for the occasional use of formal-sounding language, as parts of it are written in a particular way for legal reasons.)

Today is a big day in Zappos history.

This morning, our board approved and we signed what’s known as a “definitive agreement”, in which all of the existing shareholders and investors of Zappos (there are over 100) will be exchanging their Zappos stock for Amazon stock. Once the exchange is done, Amazon will become the only shareholder of Zappos stock.

Over the next few days, you will probably read headlines that say "Amazon acquires Zappos" or "Zappos sells to Amazon". While those headlines are technically correct, they don't really properly convey the spirit of the transaction. (I personally would prefer the headline “Zappos and Amazon sitting in a tree…”)

We plan to continue to run Zappos the way we have always run Zappos -- continuing to do what we believe is best for our brand, our culture, and our business. From a practical point of view, it will be as if we are switching out our current shareholders and board of directors for a new one, even though the technical legal structure may be different.

We think that now is the right time to join forces with Amazon because there is a huge opportunity to leverage each other's strengths and move even faster towards our long term vision. For Zappos, our vision remains the same: delivering happiness to customers, employees, and vendors. We just want to get there faster.

We are excited about doing this for 3 main reasons:

1) We think that there is a huge opportunity for us to really accelerate the growth of the Zappos brand and culture, and we believe that Amazon is the best partner to help us get there faster.

2) Amazon supports us in continuing to grow our vision as an independent entity, under the Zappos brand and with our unique culture.

3) We want to align ourselves with a shareholder and partner that thinks really long term (like we do at Zappos), as well as do what’s in the best interest of our existing shareholders and investors.

I will go through each of the above points in more detail below, but first, let me get to the top 3 burning questions that I'm guessing many of you will have.

Click here to read Tony's letter for more info and legalese.

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