Walmart Advances Media Ambitions with $2.3 Billion Acquisition of Vizio


The rumored purchase of Vizio by Walmart is no longer a rumor: the retail giant has announced that it will purchase the TV maker, and its SmartCast Operating System, for approximately $2.3 billion in cash or via debt, subject to customary regulatory clearance. The acquisition is designed to support Walmart Connect, the company’s retail media business, by combining Vizio’s advertising solutions with Walmart’s reach and capabilities.

“We believe Vizio’s customer-centric operating system provides great viewing experiences at attractive price points,” said Seth Dallaire, EVP and Chief Revenue Officer at Walmart U.S. in a statement. “We also believe it enables a profitable advertising business that is rapidly scaling. Our media business, Walmart Connect, is helping brands create meaningful connections with the millions of customers who shop with us each week. We believe the combination of these two businesses would be impactful as we redefine the intersection of retail and entertainment.”

Vizio, founded in 2002, has since amassed more than 18 million active accounts, growing its platform by enabling users to stream free content by watching ads. The Vizio Platform+ business, which consists largely of its advertising business, has more than 500 direct advertiser relationships and now accounts for the majority of the company’s gross profit, according to Vizio. In November 2023 Best Buy partnered with Vizio to present its Merry & Bright shoppable content series for the holiday season.

For its part, Walmart has been expanding and refining its retail media offerings in multiple ways:


  • In September 2022 Walmart expanded its retail media offerings with social and livestreaming integrations with TikTok, Snap, Roku, TalkShopLive and Firework;
  • Walmart began testing new in-store retail media opportunities in June 2023; and
  • In October 2023 Walmart instituted a certification program to teach advertisers about its retail media offerings.

The acquisition comes just weeks after rival Amazon added advertising to its streaming platform Prime Video, and it’s hard not to see the purchase as a continuation of Walmart’s ongoing efforts to replicate and refine Amazon’s “flywheel” strategy, as it has already done with the addition of the Walmart+ membership, the launch of its third-party marketplace and, of course, its burgeoning retail media ecosystem. The acquisition of Vizio will not only immediately propel Walmart into the realm of television advertising (some analysts estimate Walmart will now control as much as one-fifth of the U.S. TV market), but also give the retailer its own proprietary hardware offering, akin to that of Amazon.   

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