Amazon Demands Stake in Suppliers, Picks Up Rights To “SmartLess” Podcast

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As one of the world’s leading online retailers, Amazon has certainly amassed considerable leverage when it comes to negotiations. But behind the scenes, the company is in all-out Shark Tank mode.

Amazon has reached at least a dozen agreements with publicly-traded vendors that provide it with warrants — or the right to purchase stock in the supplier’s company down the road at potentially steep discounts, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Bezos Wants His Percentage

Along with aggressively pursuing stock in its publicly-traded vendors, Amazon has reportedly also done over 75 such deals with privately held companies over the past decade, from energy suppliers to call-center operations.

Amazon’s deal partners can score hefty contracts on top of the clout of dealing with a world-leading company, which often benefits their stock prices. And in return, warrants help the retail giant pick up heaps of stock in its vendors on the cheap:

  • Amazon’s stakes and potential stakes across its partner firms amount to billions of dollars.
  • In some deals, Amazon has even negotiated rights like board representation and the chance to best any acquisition offers from competing firms.

A spokeswoman said that in order to earn warrants, Amazon is typically bound to milestones such as large purchases from the supplier. But several executives reportedly felt Amazon made them an offer they couldn’t refuse.

The Pod-Father

Bezos may be taking his summer vacation in space, but he hasn’t left the negotiating table yet:

  • News broke Tuesday that Amazon is buying exclusive rights to the “SmartLess” podcast for as much as $80 million, to help entice listeners to its subscription-based music service.
  • Featuring celebrity interviews hosted by actors Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, and Sean Hayes, episodes starting in August will premiere via Amazon.

Pod Options: Amazon didn’t disclose the terms of the deal, but it does include the right to team up on future podcasts the “SmartLess” makers produce.