We’ve talked in the past about Amazon.com’s ambitious plans in the online video space, suggesting that the online retailer could make a bid for either Netflix or Hulu as a way to bolster its pending tablet computer launch. It is unclear whether Amazon will take the “build-versus-buy” approach in online video. But this much is certain: It is getting a heck of a lot cheaper to gobble up the two biggest brands in the space.
Since Reed Hasting’s mea culpa ten days ago and subsequent Qwikster spin off, Netflix has lost 23 percent of its value. That means the online video and DVD rental company now has a market value of $6.8 billion. I’ve contended — as have some GeekWire readers — that the price tag is still too rich for the frugal-minded Jeff Bezos.
Nonetheless, at some point, Netflix may enter bargain status. If so, it will be interesting to see if Amazon bites.Since July, Netflix has lost more than $9 billion, with stock analyst Todd Lowenstein telling Bloomberg that the company is now an “attractive asset” given the recent “pullback in the share price.”
Other stock analysts in the report suggest that the Netflix deal could deliver to Amazon — or other potential players such as Google — a decent amount of video content. (I talked on the GeekWire podcast last week about why I think the splitting of Netflix in two is a play to sell the company).
That content agreements could provide a nice boost, at least in the short-term while Netflix still has existing relationships with movie studios. But as those deals start to evaporate, Netflix (and Hulu for that matter) would become far less interesting.
Business Insider reports that the top bid for Hulu came in at $1.9 billion from Dish Network, below what many executives at the streaming video company wanted. (Amazon reportedly was in the running for Hulu as well and may still hang around depending upon how the auction process moves forward).
Unlike some of its rivals, Amazon is not a cash-rich company. It reported $2.6 billion in cash and cash equivalents at the end of the second quarter. Google, on the other hand, showed cash of $10.3 billion.