Walmart might buy budget TV maker Vizio

This could make the retail giant a formidable rival to Amazon and Roku.

Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

Retail giant Walmart is reportedly in talks to acquire budget TV maker Vizio, according to The Wall Street Journal. The $2 billion deal would make Vizio a house brand for Walmart and would allow the company to directly compete in the affordable smart TV space currently dominated by Amazon and Roku.

It would also give Walmart access to all of that sweet, sweet customer data collected by Vizio’s smart TV platform throughout the years, which would open up another revenue stream in the form of personalized ads. The company would also be able to sell user data collected by Vizio boxes. Finally, it could use Vizio TVs as ad space in the showrooms of its nearly 11,000 retail locations. The company’s already doing this with display televisions via its current in-house brand Onn.

However, Roku and Amazon have had years to shore up the budget-friendly TV market. Roku started with streaming devices, but transitioned to smart TVs last year, and there’s even a more expensive line of Mini LED TVs coming in a few months. Amazon Fire TVs are just about everywhere, with more than 200 million sales as of ten months ago. So Walmart has a fairly steep hill to climb, should this deal go through.

Speaking of deals going through, this isn’t Vizio’s first acquisition rodeo. The company’s been looking for a buyer for years. Vizio was nearly purchased by Chinese media conglomerate LeEco back in 2016, which was another $2 billion deal, but things went south quickly. LeEco, once called the “Netflix of China," ran into serious financial troubles and backed out of the deal, leaving Vizio in the lurch. This caused Vizio to sue LeEco for $100 million, which was eventually settled for $60 million. Shortly after that, Vizio went public with an IPO.

If the deal goes off without a hitch, Vizio will join other tech companies under Walmart’s global umbrella. These include content delivery platform Vudu, AR optical tech company Memomi, banking app ONE and a whole bunch of digital retailers, like and Bare Necessities.

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