Walmart confirms Vizio acquisition for $2.3 billion

Shawn Knight

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A done deal: Walmart has confirmed the acquisition of TV manufacturer Vizio for $2.3 billion in cash, a strategic move aimed at expanding its high-margin advertising business. Walmart, along with its Sam's Club warehouse chain, has been a significant retailer of Vizio products. Walmart aims to enhance its ad capabilities via Vizio's SmartCast OS, which offers users free ad-supported streaming.

Vizio sells ads through its smart TV platform, which are typically shown when turning on the set and inside of some free, ad-supported video apps. Under Walmart ownership, the big box retailer would take over control of these lucrative ad spots, opening a new avenue for revenue that could be used to fund other areas of interest like speedier shipping to better compete with Amazon.

Walmart could take it a step further by running strategic ads to coincide with in-store sales, and even track sales from ads shown on Vizio TVs back to the purchase of goods in store. You can bet that this sort of data would be incredibly valuable to advertising partners, netting Walmart even more money.

Vizio and Walmart have maintained a successful business relationship for years. According to the Journal, Vizio is Walmart's top television brand based on sales, and Walmart (including Sam's Club) is Vizio's largest customer.

Walmart is reportedly negotiating a deal to purchase smart television maker Vizio as part of a deal valued at more than $2 billion. Sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal that a deal has not yet been finalized, and negotiations could fall through. Should it come to fruition, however, it would give the big box retailer another place to sell ads and pitch goods to customers.

Share value in Vizio shot up roughly 30 percent on the buyout rumor, pushing the company's market cap to $1.89 billion. The company is set to share its latest earnings report at the end of the month. Walmart stock was largely unaffected by the news, hovering around $168 per share as of this writing.

Owning and operating an electronics brand would not be foreign to Walmart, as the company already runs the private-label brand Onn. But as mentioned, the allure here is not so much about the opportunity to sell affordable televisions as it is about the advertising channel and generating a new stream of revenue outside of its stores.

Image credit: Michael Steeber, Nicolas Leclercq

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Makes sense. Vizio never rose to the serious business level of its competitors - but did a bunch of things right. A Vizio television is a Walmart class product.
 
... who actually hooks up their TV to their wifi ??

Everyone I know uses a Roku/amazon firestick/appetv/google or similar device ... TV integrated streamers are always sooooooooooo s##ty, and slow.

Avoid the ads .. dont even hook it up
 
Vizio used to be a promising brand. What the heck happened to it?
I am guessing they do not sell well. But that is what innovations are for.
Although, what did they expect when their competitors are giants like LG Samsung and Sony.
It seems right to do what other newer brands do now. They offer modern and very attractive products that cost way less.
 
... who actually hooks up their TV to their wifi ??

Everyone I know uses a Roku/amazon firestick/appetv/google or similar device ... TV integrated streamers are always sooooooooooo s##ty, and slow.

Avoid the ads .. dont even hook it up
Unfortunately everyone I know. The concept that you can get an external box and install an adblocker on a web browser is just totally alien.

I have a desktop PC hooked up to my TV. When I pull out the KB+M to bring up a streaming service they look at me like I grew two hands out my head.
 
Can I just get a PLAIN tv, PLAIN washer, PLAIN refrigerator, PLAIN car?
Not something that is always connected to the web?

The Insignia N10 series "Non-smart" TV's at Best Buy are just what you asked for, ie no web connection. Looks much the same for washers and fridges with low-end models "skimping" on net connectivity, and hind models flaunting it. Not to worry ;-}
 
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Vizio used to be a promising brand. What the heck happened to it?
I am guessing they do not sell well. But that is what innovations are for.
Although, what did they expect when their competitors are giants like LG Samsung and Sony.
It seems right to do what other newer brands do now. They offer modern and very attractive products that cost way less.
Promising in what way? It became a popular brand because of Walmart. It was always a cheap n in some cases low quality TV. While some will say they have much better TVs today they don't have parts, so when things go wrong you either get it replaced or buy a new one. Not everyone likes it if you have to fork out more money when you TV all of sudden died. Especially in its first 3 years.
 
Makes sense. Vizio never rose to the serious business level of its competitors - but did a bunch of things right. A Vizio television is a Walmart class product.
Yeah it did. It rose big in the late '00 Era. After 2010 their name was everywhere and still is.
They are popular because of Walmart.

They were nfl and collegiate sponsor. Not sure if they still are.

They've had some quality issues, as most electronic companies do but most of theirs is because they don't have parts, not repairable from manufacturer, only can be replaced. In some cases failing under 3 years. That can put people off when samsung has claims of over 10 year tvs.
 
Unfortunately everyone I know. The concept that you can get an external box and install an adblocker on a web browser is just totally alien.

I have a desktop PC hooked up to my TV. When I pull out the KB+M to bring up a streaming service they look at me like I grew two hands out my head.
I'm essentially doing the same thing. My "TV," and it is a "TV," is only a display for my HTPC. I plan on upgrading my "TV," however, I would never think of hooking it up to the internet on its own. Most of my friends are technical, though, so its nothing new to them that what I'm doing is something that can, and should, IMO, be done with "TVs".
 
Can I just get a PLAIN tv, PLAIN washer, PLAIN refrigerator, PLAIN car?
Not something that is always connected to the web?
These days, "Internet TVs" as well as non-Internet TVs are nothing more than computer monitors in the sense that they can be used as displays for any PC. Not to mention that most TVs still have built-in OTA tuners and can receive OTA broadcasts without being hooked up to the internet - or to a PC. You would use the TV as a PC display for streaming purposes/gaming if you wanted to.

Just because there's an Ethernet/WiFi port designed to be hooked up to the internet does not mean you have to use it. Besides, buying one without that Ethernet/WiFi port is probably not much more than $20 cheaper than one with that port.
 
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The funny thing is Walmart don't really care about Vizio as a whole, they simply want the ad side which will generate them money. Having ads built into to a TV to watch free content isn't anything new but it's working for Vizio and Walmart want the whole damn pie not a slice.
Why Vizio, that's the easy part. The 2 companies have worked together for like the last 2 decades. Business is good for both but Walmart being the behemoth it is gets what it wants.
 
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