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Amazon has agreed to buy live-streaming gaming network Twitch for just under $1 billion, the companies said Monday, marking one of the e-commerce giant's largest deals to date. The move reflects Amazon's mounting investments in original television and gaming content over the last few years as the company branches out into businesses beyond retail. San Francisco-based Twitch allows gamers to broadcast live streams of themselves playing videogames. Its social networking features allow viewers to communicate with each other and the featured gamer during broadcasts. “Like Twitch, we obsess over customers and like to think differently, and we look forward to learning from them and helping them move even faster to build new services for the gaming community," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement announcing the $970 million all-cash deal. More than 55 million gamers visited Twitch last month, Amazon said.
Twitch CEO Emmett Shear wrote on the company's blog: "We’re keeping most everything the same: our office, our employees, our brand, and most importantly our independence. But with Amazon’s support we’ll have the resources to bring you an even better Twitch." The deal is expected to close by the end of the year. Google had reportedly been in talks to buy Twitch.