Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Amazon and Netflix–Yes. No. Maybe. Yahoo-Facebook Redux? Um, Sorry.

The merger fever in the Internet might feel like it is 1999, but, let’s be honest, we are a whole lot older and wiser than before.


OK, maybe not, judging from the mini-frenzy that resulted from wispy whiffs of rumors that online DVD renting and downloading service Netflix was in talks to be acquired by online retail giant Amazon. Netflix’s stock popped, of course, on the idea that the company–worth about $1.6 billion–could fetch more than $2 billion in an Amazon bid.

If it were to happen, that is (which my sources said is premature). More to the point, it is part of an endless cycle about what will eventually happen to the sassy Netflix, which can’t possibly survive alone, although it has so far, mostly besting competitors and even making a tidy profit.

But in this buy-or-be-sold mindset, the practice run of such an offer was nicely deconstructed by a most excellent report by Dana Cimilluca of the The Wall Street Journal’s online Deal Journal.

Amazon might make a decent buyer for Netflix (it certainly has had trouble competing with it) and its stock has been up by double in the last year (market cap: $30 billion), giving it a stronger currency to make purchases. On the other hand, Netflix’s stock is down over investors’ concern about increased competition and lackluster recent results.

But one vampire of a merger rumor just won’t die–the sale of social-networking site Facebook–even with a million stakes through its heart, such as my post here. This week, we’re back to Yahoo coming around again to look over the suddenly-hotter-than-ever company and upping the ante to closer to $2 billion.

Hey, rumormongers out there, listen up: This is just not going to happen, as Facebook has just launched a new and possibly promising initiative to broaden its scope by bringing in third-party developers to offer widgets and services to its 22 million users.

So, let me reiterate when you hear this one again–Just say no.

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Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of Pets.com would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of BoxOfficeGuru.com comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”