Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Netflix Exit Strategies -- Comcast?

I apologize for writing these out of order, but one of the lessons I've learned as a blogger is that, if you want to speculate on something, get the post up quick because events have a way of moving faster than you could imagine and a position can go from bold and provocative to yesterday's news overnight.

For that reason, I want to jump ahead in the Netflix thread to exit strategies. Right now the company is sitting in a classic corporate throne of Damocles, king of the world but with a sword dangling over its head. Having a market cap bigger than Disney's is wonderful, but that stock price is based almost entirely on a highly questionable narrative. How do you gracefully cash out in such a situation?

One possibility I'd like to open up for discussion is some kind of merger or acquisition with Comcast (with the question of who would be acquiring whom rather bizarrely up in the air). There is something of a precedent here with AOL Time Warner, but Netflix and Comcast are a far better fit.

The two companies already have an extremely close working relationship. As previously mentioned, in the all important children's division, Netflix is largely dependent on licensing properties from the NBC/Universal library. NBC also produces (and apparently owns) one of Netflix's highest profile shows, Kimmy Schmidt.

Netflix also desperately needs guaranteed access to a major content library. We currently have a thread going about how the "plan" for Netflix to produce its way out of this problem is unworkable and probably insincere. Though not on par with Disney or Warners, NBC/Universal does have such a library.

The Disney Fox deal means that the House of Mouse now owns a controlling interest in Hulu. This has got to leave Comcast feeling somewhat out in the old. Pairing up with Netflix would put the company roughly on an even footing with its rival.

And finally, with the uncertain future of net neutrality, the business logic of the partnership is even stronger.

I'm writing and posting this in haste so I well may end up repenting it in leisure, but if we are on to something, I'd very much like to be to say you heard it (and discussed it) here first.

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