Comcast reportedly eyeing ViacomCBS or Roku tie-up

NBCUniversal (NBCU) owner Comcast is exploring a potential tie-up with US-based media giant rival ViacomCBS or AVOD operator Roku.

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Comcast, whose NBCU division owns UK pay TV operator Sky, had considered a deal that would see it increase its streaming might by partnering with MTV and Showtime owner ViacomCBS.

The report also said that an acquisition of device manufacturer Roku had been considered by Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, although the Journal added that the chief exec did not believe a merger is necessary to compete.

Brian Roberts

While the source for the story was an unidentified individual familiar with the matter, it still sent ViacomCBS and Roku shares up almost 3% and 4.5% respectively.

A Comcast spokesperson labelled the report “pure speculation” in a comment to CNBC, which is owned by NBCU.

There have already been a flurry of mega deals in the US over recent months, including Amazon’s $8.45bn acquisition of The Handmaid’s Tale prodco MGM and WarnerMedia’s shock merger announcement with Discovery.

NBCU, meanwhile, is attempting to compete on streaming with its AVOD/SVOD hybrid Peacock. The Journal said the streamer had generated ad revenue but was lacking in subscribers, with fewer than 10 million customers.

The news came as ViacomCBS named an MTV exec to lead programming for its Paramount+ and Pluto TV streaming services around the world.

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