The deal, in an all-cash offer, is expected to be announced imminently, sources said. If completed the acquisition would be the most significant in the history of YouTube, which Google acquired in 2006 for $1.65 billion. The impending acquisition comes after longtime Google ad exec Susan Wojcicki was named CEO of YouTube earlier this year.
Reps for YouTube and Twitch declined to comment.
San Francisco-based Twitch lets users upload and watch free, live gameplay videos that can be streamed from Microsoft Xbox and PlayStation 4 consoles. The company claims to have more than 45 million monthly users, with more than 1 million members who upload videos each month. It also has deals to distribute shows from partners including CBS InteractiveÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s GameSpot, Joystiq and Destructoid.
YouTube is preparing for U.S. regulators to challenge the Twitch deal, according to sources. YouTube is far and away the No. 1 platform for Internet video, serving more than 6 billion hours of video per month to 1 billion users worldwide, and the company expects the Justice Department to take a hard look at whether buying Twitch raises anti-competitive issues in the online-video market.