Acquisition to Give Traditional Auction Houses Full Access to the Power of Internet Commerce

SEATTLE, April 12--/PRNewswire/ (NASDAQ: AMZN), the leading online retailer, has agreed to purchase (, the sole provider of live-event auctions on the Internet, to expand and enrich's recently launched Auctions service.

The transaction will pair's 8 million customers with the proprietary software to give local and regional auction houses full access to a vast Internet auction community. is a Seattle-based company formed in 1996 that pioneered live, event-based auctions on the Internet. Utilizing's patent-pending real-time software technology, auction houses are able to broadcast their auctions over the Internet. Online bidders can participate in live auctions in real time, competing directly with bidders present at the auction site.

"The big winners here are the world's traditional auction houses," said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of ( "Appraisal and authentication are important, and no one can do it better than established and expert auctioneers. We're going to actively team up with them so they can expand their reach with's technology and's 8 million customers."'s technology has been used successfully with a number of notable auctions at some of the nation's leading auction houses, including the 1999 O.J. Simpson estate auction; the auction of the only complete Titanic ticket in existence; the renowned Kruse International Scottsdale Classic Car Show, one of the world's largest collector-car auctions, where the original Batmobile featured in the movie Batman Returns was sold to an Internet bidder; and the auction of an actual 460-acre Victorian village in Moodus, Connecticut.

"We're thrilled to continue our support of the auction industry in this agreement with," said Matt Williams, president of "This is the next logical step for the auction industry to grow by incorporating the technology and power of the Internet.

"There will be no geographic barriers between auctioneers and bidders," Williams said. "We like to think of it as expanding the buyer base of an auction house by using a mouse as a paddle."

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The merger is expected to close within the quarter, subject to customary closing conditions.

About, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), the Internet's No. 1 music, No. 1 video, and No. 1 book retailer, opened its virtual doors on the World Wide Web in July 1995. Today, the store has expanded to offer more than 4.7 million book, music-CD, video, DVD, computer-game, and other titles, plus secure credit-card payment, personalized recommendations, and streamlined ordering through 1-ClickSM technology. It also operates Auctions, where sellers can offer items for sale to 8 million customers. operates two international Web sites: in the United Kingdom and in Germany. also operates PlanetAll (, a Web-based address book, calendar, and reminder service. It also operates the Internet Movie Database (, the Web's comprehensive and authoritative source of information on more than 150,000 movies and entertainment programs and 500,000 cast and crew members dating from the birth of film in 1892 to the present.

This announcement contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that include, among others,'s limited operating history, anticipated losses, unpredictability of future revenues, potential fluctuations in quarterly operating results, seasonality, competition, risks associated with system development and operation, management of potential growth, and risks of new business areas, international expansion, business combinations, and strategic alliances. More information about factors that potentially could affect's financial results is included in's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 1998., Auctions,,, Internet Movie Database, PlanetAll, and 1-Click are either registered trademarks or trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates. All other names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.