Rumors have been flying for years now that Roku, the company, is or will be up for sale. This does not mean Roku is struggling. Roku just had one of the best quarters ever in the history of the company. Sales are going strong and by most reports over half of all streaming players in the United States are Rokus and 1 of every 3 smart TVs sold in the United States run the Roku OS.
So why would Roku sell? Roku’s competitors have advantages over Roku. Mostly in the fact that Amazon’s Fire TVs can be pushed through Amazon.com and Whole Foods now that it is owned by Amazon. Apple and Google both have deep pockets to prop up their streaming player something Roku does not have.
While Roku is doing well you can see why in the face of Google, Amazon, and Apple many are predicting a sale. So, let’s say Roku decides to sell. Who would we want to buy them? Let’s take a look.
The most likely companies are: Google, Amazon, and Apple
Some of the most common names that come up when a possible Roku sale is talked about is their competitors Google, Amazon, and Apple. Yet I find these to be the most unlikely. If I had to pick one, I would say it would be Google. Amazon is seeing massive growth with the Fire TV, so why buy Roku when you are already gaining on them? Also, Amazon would likely find it difficult to get regulatory approval for the deal because it would make a streaming giant so large no one could compete with it.
I would also say Apple is extremely unlikely because Roku focuses on middle and low end in terms of price. This is clearly not Apple’s focus and the two company’s cultures seem to be extremely different.
What about Google? There could be something to the rumors that Google would buy Roku even though no one thinks Google is interested. Google has struggled to get traction in the world of set-top boxes. Android TV has been in a distant fourth place for years—even farther down if you count game systems and smart TVs. Buying Roku could help Google get a huge jumpstart back into the race for set-top boxes.
Yet Google has shown little interest in streaming players recently. Android TV and the Chromecast have received little attention from Google. When the new Chromecast was announced a few months ago Google didn’t bother to do it at a big press event held the same day. Instead, they dropped an almost unnoticed blog post after their big event announcing new phones, tablets, and smart home speakers. So, the question is would Google even want Roku?
Who would really be interested in buying Roku? Likely Walmart…
There is one company with the money to buy Roku and interests that seem to lineup with buying Roku. Walmart….
Walmart is diving heavily into streaming and already has a close relationship with Roku. Of course, you likely know that Walmart owns Vudu, a streaming video store and free ad-supported streaming service. Yet it is reported that Walmart is close to launching their own Netflix-like service maybe as soon as this month.
If you walk around a Walmart store, you are likely to see promotions for Vudu. Even on their receipts recently Walmart has been promoting digital deals on Vudu. Buying Roku will help Walmart expand outside the crowded big box store market into the streaming world helping Walmart to diversify.
If I had to pick a company with the money to buy Roku and the desire to buy Roku it would be Walmart. It lines up with their plans and it would help Roku by giving them access to deep pockets they do not have.
Just remember we don’t even know if Roku is or ever will be up for sale. Yet if the rumors are true, Walmart seems to be a company to keep a close eye on.
If you had to pick a company to buy Roku who would it be? Leave us a comment and let us know.
Did you know we have a YouTube Channel? Every week we have a live Cord Cutting Q&A, and weekly Cord Cutting recap shows exclusively on our YouTube Channel!