No one likes a price hike, and that was especially the case for Netflix customers who were outraged when the online video service boosted prices in July as a result of splitting its DVD mail order business and streaming video service. Now, Netflix is paying the price for that decision.
Here’s a look at what’s going on at Netflix:
The Netflix stock sell off raises the question: Could this be the time for Amazon to make a bid?
Oftentimes, companies split operations in order to make themselves more attractive to possible suitors. Could Netflix be making that strategic decision?
Amazon likely would be interested in the streaming video portion of the Netflix business. (One of the reasons floated in the past that Amazon didn’t go after Netflix is that it would give the company physical presences in many states, subjecting it to collecting sales tax. And, we all know how Amazon feels about that issue).
Amazon has long been discussed as a potential buyer of Netflix. But Netflix’s elevated stock price (plus the tax issue noted above) has made the company largely untouchable by Amazon.
With the sell off today, Netflix is now valued at $9.2 billion. That would still be a pretty hefty price tag for Amazon, especially now that it has other options on the table.
Reports circulated last week that Amazon could pursue a deal with Starz after a content distribution agreement with Netflix ends in February.
And then, of course, there’s Hulu. Amazon is reportedly one of the bidders talking to the Netflix rival, a buyout which could make sense given the personal connections between Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Hulu’s Jason Kilar. Hulu also may be a lot cheaper, with reports suggesting that it could sell for as much as $2 billion.
This much is certain: Amazon — which is preparing the launch of its own tablet computer — wants to be a bigger force in online video.
The question remains: Will it pay up to get there? And is Netflix the best fit?
My guess: Netflix is still too rich for Amazon, which incidentally just passed the $100 billion market cap mark.