A reader says there was chatter to that effect this afternoon, as Netflix (NFLX) pushed 6% higher on high volume.
Would this make sense? Only if Best Buy (BBY) has been persuaded that the Blockbuster (BBI) – Circuit City (CCI) deal makes sense, which we certainly haven’t.
On the “why not?” side, a Best Buy – Netflix combination would of course be vastly more powerful than a Blockbuster – Circuit City combination—because it would be two No. 1’s vs. two No. 2’s and because Netflix is stronger than Blockbuster in the only business that could provide real synergy: mail-order subscriptions and digital downloads.
We can understand why Best Buy would want to have content subscribers, especially those to whom it could sell new home electronics gadgets (on the web and in stores). We can also imagine Best Buy salespeople selling Netflix subcriptions to customers who buy DVD players (along with those fat-margin warranties). The combo would presumably reduce Netflix’s marketing costs. And a combined Best Buy/Netflix would also give both companies more clout when negotiating with video-box-makers: Netflix for installing its digital download service and Best Buy on pricing.
All that makes sense. But beyond that, these two companies are in different businesses, and there would be next to no management or operational synergy. As a result, the companies would probably be better off doing a long-term partnership deal. (Which, by the way, would end any hope for the Hail Mary Blockbuster-Circuit City deal).