Buy n Large retail giant Walmart is buying the television operating system provider Vizio for around $2.3 billion to support the growth of Walmart Connect through the Vizio SmartCast platform. It is not so much buying a television platform as a way of knowing what customers are watching and go on to buy.

Walmart and its affiliated retailers have been the largest customer of Vizio since 2008. Walmart first expressed an interest in acquiring Vizio in mid-2023 and made an initial offer in August.

Assuming the purchase goes through, Walmart will acquire a consumer electronics company that provides televisions that it already sells in its stores. The real deal is about being able to link viewing seen on those screens to other purchases in its stores. Vizio knows what its users watch. Walmart knows what they go on to buy.

The combination will support the Walmart media business, Walmart Connect, combining Vizio advertising systems with the reach of Walmart.

Walmart acquiring Vizio

“There is a lot to be excited about with this acquisition,” said Seth Dallaire, the chief revenue officer of Walmart in the United States. “We believe Vizio’s customer-centric operating system provides great viewing experiences at attractive price points.”

“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.”

The Vizio device ecosystem and its smart television operating system, SmartCast, have reached over 18 million active accounts.

The majority of Vizio profit is accounted for by advertising, with over 500 direct advertiser relationships.

The controlling shareholders of Vizio have approved the deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, but have the right to pull out before 4 April if they receive a better offer.

Walmart serves over a quarter of a billion customers across over 10,500 stores in 19 countries. With 2.1 million employees worldwide, its annual revenue is £648 billion. Its global advertising business grew 28% last year to $3.4 billion.

It is not such good news for Roku, which currently licences its operating system for use own brand Onn televisions sold by Walmart.

According to Trendforce market data, Onn had a market share of 13.7% of smart television sales in the United States in 2023, while that of Vizio dropped to 10.4%.