Walmart is buying smart TV maker Vizio for $2.3 billion

Walmart is buying Smart TV maker Vizio, the retail giant, for $2.3 billion announced as part of the latest earnings report. While Walmart has long been a major seller of Vizio TVs, the company says the acquisition “allows for a rapidly expanding profitable advertising business” through the company’s SmartCast OS. The deal is still subject to regulatory approval.

Vizio sells solid mid-range TVs powered by the SmartCast operating system, most of which support free ad-supported content. The company recently updated its lineup more intuitive user interface and faster startups and app switching.

Meanwhile, Walmart features the brand prominently on its shelves (along with TCL), as anyone who’s been there lately has probably noticed. The retailer already has its own TV home brand, ONN, but those sets are very low-end, typically selling for less than $500.

More importantly, the companies plan to consolidate their advertising businesses. Walmart already has a $2.7 billion advertising business, but Vizio will increase its access to key consumer data, such as viewership data. It would also give Walmart more eyeballs for its ads — for example, companies that sell merchandise at Walmart can also run ads on Vizio TVs, all of which can be watched by the retailer.

“We believe the combination of these two businesses will be impactful as we redefine the intersection of retail and entertainment,” said Walmart VP Seth Dallaire. “Our technology will help Walmart Connect bring a scalable, connected TV advertising platform,” said Vizio CEO William Wang.

The acquisition could be counterproductive to Amazon’s internal Fire TV business, both in terms of TV retail and advertising. The Wall Street Journal reported last week. Amazon has one of the largest advertising companies in the US after Alphabet and Meta, and smart TVs help it collect personalized consumer data for targeted advertising.

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