Walmart Buys Ecommerce Startup Jet.com for $3 Billion to Compete Online With Amazon

Technology expertise will accelerate app sales

As more shopping moves to desktops and smartphones and growing competition from Amazon, Walmart is snatching up startup Jet.com for $3 billion.

With Jet.com, Walmart is adding technology expertise to its app, site and stores to help the massive retailer build up its ecommerce business.

"Walmart.com will grow faster, the seamless shopping experience we're pursuing will happen quicker and we'll enable the Jet brand to be even more successful in a shorter period of time," said Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon in a statement.

CEO Marc Lore launched Jet.com one year ago to compete with Amazon with significant funding. His business model centered on buying and reselling products from more than 2,000 retailers like Walmart for lower prices.

To build hype around the brand, Jet.com has poured money into marketing, hiring R/GA and media agency Maxus to create a Super Bowl ad.

According to Walmart, Jet.com added more than 400,000 shoppers each month, and the site generated 25,000 daily orders. Jet will remain a separate brand from Walmart, and the deal is expected to close later this year after regulatory approval.

It's not the first time that Lore has sold off a burgeoning ecommerce company to a retail giant. Lore also founded Quidsi—which owns Soap.com and Diapers.com—before selling it to Amazon for $545 million in 2010.

Walmart.com's acquisition is the latest example of how companies are willing to spend big money to acquire retail-focused startups. Last month, Unilever purchased Dollar Shave Club for $1 billion.

"The combination of Walmart's retail expertise, purchasing scale, sourcing capabilities, distribution footprint and digital assets—together with the team, technology and business we have built here at Jet—will allow us to deliver more value to customers," Lore said in a statement.