Speculation Increases Around a Potential Disney/Netflix Acquisition

Disney has made multiple high-profile purchases in recent years, and there's increased speculation that Netflix may be next on the company's shopping list.

The potential purchase gained increased attention following a TechCrunch article published on Sunday, which laid out the potential benefits for both parties. TechCrunch cited "rumors swirling," linking back to a Fortune article from October, which itself cited "whispers" that the media conglomerate was considering an acquisition of the mega-popular streaming service.

So while it's safe to file this solely in the rumors and speculation category for now -- both parties declined comment late last month in a Los Angeles Times article -- there appear to be many reasons why a deal would make sense. As TechCrunch detailed, despite Netflix's success, it faces escalating costs to fund its growing slate of original programming -- making it a likely candidate for acquisition from Disney or a similarly equipped company capable of what would be a major investment. In turn, Disney -- which purchased Pixar in 2006, Marvel in 2009 and Lucasfilm (including the Star Wars properties) in 2012 -- would receive the premier brand of over-the-top distribution and content, one with unprecedented audience reach and customer data, following the threat presented by the not-yet-approved AT&T/Time Warner merger.

The theoretical purchase has also attracted criticism. The Motley Fool called the speculation "nonsense," in part because of the dilemma caused by Netflix being owned and operated by a studio: "rival studios would be hesitant to sign or renew content deals if it would only make a rival stronger."

It remains to be seen if a Disney/Netflix deal will rise above the "rumor" stage, but if it does, CBR will have more information as it becomes available.

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