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Walmart buys Jet.com to better fight Amazon

Engadget Engadget 8/08/2016 Steve Dent
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Walmart has officially acquired Jet.com for $3 billion, a purchase that will significantly enhance its online retail presence. The US retailer didn't pitch it as such, but the deal -- leaked on Friday -- will help it compete with its fiercest online rival, Amazon. "Walmart.com will grow faster, the seamless shopping experience we're pursuing will happen quicker, and we'll enable the Jet brand to be even more successful in a shorter period of time," Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement.

The US retail giant is acquiring Jet.com in part for its rapid ascent; it hit $1 billion in sales and 12 million stocked items in just a year. Walmart, by contrast, has seen online sales growth decline in five consecutive quarters. It adds that the acquisition will bring "fresh ideas and expertise, as well as an attractive brand with proven appeal, especially for millennials."

Walmart.com [will focus] on delivering the company's everyday low price strategy, while Jet will continue to provide a unique and differentiated customer experience with curated assortment.

Jet CEO Marc Lore knows Amazon well, having sold his last company, Quidsi, to Jeff Bezos' firm for $545 million in 2010. Lore owns 25 percent of Jet and will continue to lead it under Walmart, according to reports.

Jet will operate separately from Walmart's online business. "Walmart.com [will focus] on delivering the company's everyday low price strategy, while Jet will continue to provide a unique and differentiated customer experience with curated assortment," according to the release. Lore points out, though, that Jet will obviously benefit from Walmart's "purchasing scale, sourcing capabilities, distribution footprint and digital assets."

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