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Snatching up fledgling retailer Jet.com for $3.3 billion will alleviate multiple headaches that have stunted Wal-Mart's digital growth, the company said Monday.
Here's what the world's largest retailer said it gains in the deal:
"We're looking for ways to lower prices, broaden our assortment and offer the simplest, easiest shopping experience because that's what our customers want," Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon said in announcing the deal.
Moody's lead retail analyst Charlie O'Shea said spending $3.3 billion on Jet makes sense for the cash-rich company.
"While it will likely be awhile before the return calculus can be assessed, Wal-Mart's financial strength and flexibility, in tandem with its excellent liquidity, give the company plenty of time from a credit perspective to integrate and leverage the legacy Jet business," O'Shea said.
However, O'Shea doesn't think the deal will place much strain on Amazon. Wal-Mart has been working to jump-start its slow-growing digital business as its online-only competitor gets stronger — and profitable. That's because of the strength of its subscription Prime service, which offers the additional benefits of original content and streaming.
"The more content [they create] the tougher it is to get people to leave once they're in," O'Shea said.
In the first quarter, Wal-Mart's global online sales increased just 7 percent, compared with a 17 percent lift in the prior-year quarter. Amazon grew its global e-commerce sales by 25 percent in that quarter.
Roughly 54 percent of Amazon shoppers are loyal Prime members, according to new data from Cowen & Co. That's up from 48 percent one year ago and marks an all-time high.
Wal-Mart plans to pay $3 billion in cash over time for Jet. An additional $300 million of its shares are to be paid over time as well. Terms of those payments were not disclosed.