Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) should consider purchasing an established media company such as CBS Corp. (CBS) to strengthen its streaming service’s ability to compete with industry leader Netflix Inc. (NFLX), according to MoffettNathanson.
In a research note, reported on by CNBC and Fox Business, Michael Nathanson, a senior research analyst at the firm, claimed that the e-commerce giant’s Prime Video service currently doesn’t have a deep enough library of content to compete with Netflix. Despite it having more than 100 million global paid subscribers, Nathanson argued that Amazon’s streaming service is “lagging” the industry leader in terms of usage and reach.
To better challenge Netflix, the analyst believes that Amazon must develop new, high-quality content that resonates with streaming customers. The quickest way to do this, he added, would be to acquire a company such as CBS.
"Rather than build it out over time, we wonder if Amazon would embrace a ‘buy it’ model and seek to acquire a traditional media company with content creation skills, deep proprietary content libraries, sports production capabilities, and burgeoning OTT ambitions,” Nathanson wrote in a note to clients. “Of all the companies available, CBS is the most logical fit.”
Despite identifying CBS as the most suitable target, Nathanson believes that the current legal battle between the company’s CEO Leslie Moonves and Shari Redstone, who controls CBS and Viacom through National Amusements Inc. (NAI), could make it difficult for Amazon to acquire the television broadcast company. (See also: CBS Board Votes to Curb Redstones' Power.)
“If CBS is given their freedom from NAI’s control (which we doubt), we believe that an M&A premium would quickly emerge,” Nathanson wrote. A decision over who wins control of CBS is not expected until October at the earliest.
CBS’s shares have fallen about 13% over the past year, giving the company a market cap of roughly $21 billion. Amazon’s biggest acquisition to date was its $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods.
A spokesperson for Amazon told CNBC they do not comment on rumors or speculation. CBS also declined to comment. (See also: Amazon Prime Adoption in US May Have Peaked: RBC.)