Walmart May Buy TV Maker Vizio





Walmart may get into the television business personally.

The retail giant is in talks to buy TV maker Vizio in a deal that could be valued at more than $2 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. The publication noted that the discussions were still ongoing, and that a deal may not happen.

Vizio would fit in naturally in Walmart, given that it’s the largest television brand sold by the retail giant. But any deal would be less about the TVs themselves and what’s on the screen — namely an opportunity for advertising. With smart TV operating systems increasingly a source of customer viewing data, as well as advertising spots from its WatchFree+ free, ad-supported streaming service, Walmart could unlock a new stream of revenue beyond selling goods in its stores and online.

A myriad of companies are racing to own the biggest screen in the house. Roku is already the leader with the largest share of smart TV operating systems, but retail rival Amazon also has a significant presence with its Fire TV devices.

For Walmart, advertising could also represent a higher margin business vs. its traditional goods and groceries found in its brick-and-mortar stores.

Vizio, meanwhile, got its start as a low-cost television brand, but has gradually increased the quality of its products and has been one of the more successful businesses in the segment. It’s largely shed its value brand reputation, even though it generally offers more bang for the buck vs. premium brands like Samsung.

Walmart already sells its own televisions under the Onn brand, but they run on Google and Roku’s TV operating system.

Spokesmen for Walmart couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Vizio declined to comment.

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