24 JUN 2021

COMCAST MIGHT BE EXPLORING A PURCHASE OF VIACOMCBS OR ROKU

Brian Roberts, Chief Executive Officer of Comcast, is exploring new options for the company’s push into streaming, raising the idea of a possible tie-up with ViacomCBS or the acquisition of Roku, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

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Brian Roberts, Chief Executive Officer of Comcast

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Brian Roberts, Chief Executive Officer of Comcast, is exploring new options for the company’s push into streaming, raising the idea of a possible tie-up with ViacomCBS or the acquisition of Roku, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal, citing an anonymous person familiar with the matter.

The story sent shares of ViacomCBS up 2.7% to US$41,84, its biggest one-day gain in almost a month. On the other hand, Roku’s shares climbed 4.5% to US$421,70. The speculation follows a flurry of merger activity, including Amazon’s US$8.45 billion acquisition of MGM and AT&T’s agreement to combine its WarnerMedia division with Discovery Inc. ViacomCBS itself was created out of a merger of Viacom and CBS, completed near the end of 2019.

However, according to the report, Brian Roberts has told people close to him that he “does not feel that Comcast necessarily needs a merger to compete”. The company plans to up the US$2 billion it planned to spend on Peacock content in the first two years following the streaming platform's July 2020 national launch.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Peacock, while successful in terms of generating advertising revenue, is far behind other streaming leaders in terms of subscriptions. Fewer than 10 million customers reportedly paid for the service as of May. For comparison, Netflix reported 208 million subscribers as of its first quarter.