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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Amazon announced Wednesday that it plans to acquire Wondery. The startup will be a part of Amazon‘s subscription music service, Amazon Music.

Why it matters: The move reaffirms Amazon’s growing ambitions to get into the podcasting space. Podcasts are a natural fit for the company, which already has a subscription music business, an audiobook business, and owns a sizable chunk of the smart speaker market in the U.S.

  • In May, Axios reported that Amazon was looking to invest in localized podcast content, like news and sports, to help bolster its Alexa voice assistant.
  • Multiple job listings and reports have suggested that Amazon Music, as well as Amazon’s audio book arm, Audible, are looking to invest more in podcasting.

What they’re saying: "When the deal closes, nothing will change for listeners, and they’ll continue to be able to access Wondery podcasts through a variety of providers,” the tech giant said in a statement.

  • “With Amazon Music, Wondery will be able to provide even more high-quality, innovative content and continue their mission of bringing a world of entertainment and knowledge to their audiences, wherever they listen.”

Details: Deal terms have not been disclosed, but a recent Wall Street Journal article suggested that Wondery is valued at over $300 million.

  • The WSJ reported earlier this month that Wondery was on track to bring in about $40 million in revenue this year, with about 75% of that revenue coming from advertising, and the rest from licensing fees it charges for other companies to distribute its podcasts.
  • Wondery has produced several hit podcasts, such as “Dirty John,” “Dr. Death,” “Business Wars,” and “The Shrink Next Door.”
  • Amazon says it hopes to “accelerate the growth and evolution of podcasts by bringing creators, hosts, and immersive experiences to even more listeners across the globe, just as we do with music” with the Wondery deal.

The big picture: The deal is the latest in an audio acquisition frenzy.

  • The past year has seen several key companies, such as Spotify, iHeartMedia, SiriusXM, and Apple, invest hundreds of millions of dollars in podcast acquisitions
  • Wondery was one of the last remaining independent podcast platforms that was large enough to be considered an obvious acquisition target.

Go deeper: Podcast wars heat up

Go deeper

Jan 26, 2021 - Axios Twin Cities

Speculation mounts that Amazon Fresh is eyeing Twin Cities expansion

An Amazon Fresh store in California. Photo: Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

The draft moniker for a store in Burnsville is fueling speculation that an Amazon supermarket is coming to the area, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reports.

Driving the news: Renderings for the 40,000-square-foot project at Cobblestone Court, submitted to local officials, include the sign "Mendel" on the development.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
27 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Japan vows deeper emissions cuts ahead of White House summit

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images

Japan on Thursday said it will seek to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 46% below 2013 levels by 2030, per the AP and other outlets.

Why it matters: The country is the world's fifth-largest largest carbon dioxide emitter and a major consumer of coal, oil and natural gas.

59 mins ago - Technology

The global race to regulate AI

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Regulators in Europe and Washington are racing to figure out how to govern business' use of artificial intelligence while companies push to deploy the technology.

Driving the news: On Wednesday, the EU revealed a detailed proposal on how AI should be regulated, banning some uses outright and defining which uses of AI are deemed "high-risk."