Amazon Was More Investor than Retailer in the First Quarter


Photograph by Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Amazon's outside investments contributed more to the bottom line than its e-commerce operations. is the world’s largest online retailer, but its outside investments contributed more money to the company’s bottom line in the first quarter than its e-commerce operations.

In the three months ended March 31, Amazon made more than half its $130 million in net income from something called equity-method investments, which give the company “the ability to exercise significant influence, but not control, over an investee,” according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

That may mean the company’s investing savvy is improving — the $89 million Amazon attributed to equity-method stakes is the most it’s reaped in at least three years. Quarterly results from those investments have ranged from a loss of $17 million to a gain of $18 million since the beginning of 2009, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The company only discloses one investment included in that group — its 29 percent stake in, the second-largest daily deal site. LivingSocial reported more net income than Amazon in the first quarter at $156 million, up from a $60 million loss in the year-ago period.

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