'Unfounded' Rumor has Google Buying Roku. Could It Happen?

Stephen Silver

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In one of those odd acquisition rumors that's enough to move a company's stock, Roku's stock moved upward last week on word — likely not backed by anything solid — that Google parent company Alphabet was looking to purchase the streaming media device maker.

According to Motley Fool, there were no solid media or analyst reports indicating that such a deal was imminent, while "there's no substance to this buyout speculation. Alphabet hasn't expressed interest in Roku, and Roku hasn't said it's for sale."

The source of the rumor, it appears, was "the whispers of traders in the background."

“So, should you buy as many shares of Roku as you can, profiting once the acquisition rumors are confirmed? No way! While the acquisition rumor isn't preposterous, it also isn't actionable. Again, neither company has given shareholders any reason to believe an acquisition is imminent,” Motley Fool said.

Such rumors have been spread before, and in 2018, InvestorPlace suggested just such a deal, based on the idea that Google's stock "could use a bump."

If Google bought Roku, it would put Google directly in competition with Apple in the streaming media player place.

As of Monday morning, Roku had a market capitalization of just under $15.8 billion. Alphabet is worth $983 billion. While Roku's stock rose to $120 on the Google speculation last week, it has remained high, even rising to $130 a share Monday.

In recent weeks, Roku has remained in a standoff with AT&T-owned HBO Max, and still lacks a deal to carry the recently launched streaming service on its platform. Meanwhile Quibi, another recently launched streaming service, is also reportedly in talks to come to Roku, after it originally launched on mobile devices only.

While Roku posted a $54 million loss in the first quarter, it added 3 million accounts, as cord-cutting trends accelerated amid the coronavirus pandemic, and Roku gained millions of hours of viewership.

Companies often see a surge in their stock price on speculation that they're about to be acquired, such as what happened back in May when it was rumored that Amazon was in talks to purchase AMC Theaters. No such deal was consummated, at least as of yet.

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

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