Netflix has made only one acquisition in its 20-year history: Millarworld, a comic-book publisher whose franchises include “Kingsman” and “Kick-Ass.” The streamer paid $60 million-$80 million for the outfit, sources familiar with the pact say — hardly a bet-the-company move. On the other hand, Netflix has fashioned a string of lucrative overall development deals with big-name talent like Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy. “That’s arguably more efficient for them than buying a traditional media company or studio,” Uva says.
Last week Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos told investors the company is open to deals, but indicated those would be relatively bite-size, not massive. “In terms of using M&A to acquire intellectual property, it could be a very useful tool,” he said during a Q&A discussing Netflix’s quarterly results.
Apple, with a market cap approaching nearly $1 trillion, is one of the few entities on the planet that could reasonably absorb Disney or another major media company. While the dark cloud of the disastrous AOL-Time Warner merger nearly 20 years ago has kept the two worlds at arm’s length from a corporate M&A perspective, some believe a tech powerhouse will inevitably pounce in a big way.