Walmart to Buy TV Maker Vizio for $2.3 Billion

The deal is aimed at building the retail giant’s advertising business, taking advantage of the growth in FAST TV

SAN RAFAEL, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 13: Vizio televisions are displayed at a store on February 13, 2024 in San Rafael, California. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Walmart is in talks to purchase television maker Vizio for an estimated $2 billion. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Walmart on Tuesday said it will buy TV maker Vizio for $2.3 billion cash, as the nation’s largest retailer aims to boost its advertising business.

Walmart and its warehouse chain Sam’s Club have long sold the TVs, but the Bentonville, Arkansas-based big box retailer said in a statement that the acquisition of the company and its SmartCast Operating System will “enable Walmart to connect with and serve its customers in new ways including innovative television and in-home entertainment and media experiences.”

The operating system, much like rival Samsung’s, allows the TV users to stream free ad-supported TV content. Surveys have found that FAST TV platforms like Tubi, Roku Channel, Pluto and Freevee have seen growth in both awareness and popularity in the past few years.

Walmart said the deal will “create new opportunities to help advertisers connect with customers, empowering brands with differentiated and compelling opportunities to engage at scale and to realize greater impact from their advertising spend with Walmart.”

The combination is also an effort to grow Walmart’s media business in the U.S., called Walmart Connect, by “bringing together Vizio’s advertising solutions business with Walmart’s reach and capabilities,” the statement said. “These benefits would be further strengthened by the growth of connected TV platforms and Walmart’s industry-leading TV panel sales.”

“We believe VIZIO’s customer-centric operating system provides great viewing experiences at attractive price points. We also believe it enables a profitable advertising business that is rapidly scaling,” said Walmart U.S. Chief Revenue Officer Seth Dallaire in the statement.

The announcement, made as Walmart reported its fourth-quarter 2023 results, sent Vizio shares up more than 15% in premarket trading. The stock closed Friday’s trading session at $9.53, reflecting a spike of about 29% shares sustained since Feb. 13, when word reached the Street that the deal was in the works.

The agreement will see Walmart pay $11.50 per share for all of Vizio’s stock.

In a sign traders applauded the deal, Walmart shares also rose 4.3% in the premarket session. Shares of acquiring companies often fall when deals are announced. The stock closed Friday at $170.36, up about 7% since the start of the year.

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