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Tara Lachapelle

Netflix Is a Wall Street Banker’s Dream

The streaming giant is making merger-and-acquisition bankers rich without ever being their client.

Netflix has refrained from takeover opportunities, but it’s sparking plenty of industry mergers just by existing.

Netflix has refrained from takeover opportunities, but it’s sparking plenty of industry mergers just by existing.

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Netflix Inc.’s grip on streaming-TV audiences is driving other media companies to pursue expensive mergers and takeovers that whiff of desperation. The irony? Netflix may still beat them all without having spent a single penny to acquire any competitors.

Comcast Corp.’s Brian Roberts is the latest media mogul said to be on the acquisition hunt. He’s considering deals for ViacomCBS Inc. — itself formed from a fairly recent merger — and Roku Inc. to try to improve the cable provider’s streaming offering, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources. While he chews that over, Discovery Inc.’s David Zaslav is working to close a deal for AT&T Inc.’s WarnerMedia division. The wireless carrier is the latest company to throw in the towel on streaming, letting cable networks and tech giants have at it. Amazon.com Inc. last month agreed to buy Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the movie studio known for James Bond. Meanwhile, Sony Corp.’s PlayStation Vue and Quibi both shut down after realizing how difficult it would be to make money.