As Netflix Keeps Falling, Is Apple More Tempted to Buy It Out?

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Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) saw its shares get hit yet again on Tuesday. The leader in online video subscription services has hardly traded up in the past two months as its shares seem to fall almost every single trading day. After another 3% drop as of Tuesday morning, Netflix shares are likely going to have the lowest close since the end of last October.

One man’s loss may be another man’s gain. We have opined about this before and will opine about it again. As the value of Netflix keeps falling, would Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) dare to consider being more aggressive by attempting to acquire Netflix?

Before you can this idea as undoable, there is something to consider above and beyond Apple’s $150 billion or so cash treasure trove. In our poll called “What Would Make Netflix the Most Powerful?” the numbers were clearly in favor of Apple. The results of the poll were based on 727 answers, as follows:

  • Being Bought by Apple generated 460 votes for 63% of answers.
  • Being Bought by Amazon generated 35 votes for only 5% of answers.
  • Being Bought by Google generated 79 votes for 11% of answers.
  • Staying on Its Own generated 146 votes for some 20% of answers.
  • The “other” was only seven votes and they included Facebook, Sprint, AT&T or Comcast, and going private.

So, there are several key things that investors must consider.

Netflix is now worth just above $19 billion. Trading at roughly $320, and against a high of $458, that means that Netflix was worth close to $27.5 billion at the peak.

Obviously, Netflix shareholders will want a premium in a deal from Apple or anyone else. Unfortunately, PRICE MATTERS! If Apple is interested, it may only be interested at even lower prices.

Tim Cook of Apple was excited that Apple TV did $1 billion in revenue last year, which is not even 1% of sales. Netflix is expected to have almost $5.4 billion in revenue this year and just over $6.4 billion in revenue next year.

Apple was rumored to be setting up deals in talks with cable companies as is, yet a Netflix buyout could allow Apple to merely piggyback on the Netflix terms. There is evidence that Netflix is doing well from its deal with Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) already. Netflix likely would love to tie-up with a pay-TV operator, though the chances of that may be fairly low.

If Tim Cook wants to be a transformative CEO, he could use half a year’s worth of Apple’s profits to buy Netflix outright. Apple would capture some 44 million members across many different systems outside of just Apple and iTunes — plus Netflix’s great growth frontier is internationally now, and Apple could almost certainly ramp up that growth. Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) is now coming on strong as a competitor. Amazon recently said, without giving formal numbers, that the Amazon Instant Video tripled the number of video streams it delivered year-over-year and also that it now surpasses both Hulu and Apple in video streaming usage.

Lastly, Netflix was given a key upgrade at Oppenheimer just last week. The new rating is Outperform, and the firm gave it a $419 price target. While this call is not helping shares now, almost no analyst can make call timing an exact science.

As a reminder, this suggestion for Apple to acquire Netflix is not new. We believe this is the best thing for Netflix, and others have pondered the same notion in recent years. We would not want to consider this proposal as a merger, nor would we want any readers to expect that such talks are anywhere close to taking place. That being said, this would still likely be the best thing for Netflix — and for Apple.

Due to market erosion and due to overseas chatter about military action in Ukraine, Netflix shares were down about 4% around $316 in early afternoon trading.