LeEco Chairman Yueting Jia (left) celebrates with Vizio CEO William Wang.
In a deal that could be as disruptive for the over-the-top content streaming industry as Vizio’s entry was to U.S. television manufacturing, China-based Internet content giant LeEco announced Wednesday that it is acquiring Irvine, CA-based Vizio for $2 billion.
LeEco founder and CEO Yueting Jia said he aims to use the No. 2-ranked U.S smart TV company to build an ecosystem for the delivery of content, Internet services and home theater hardware to a global market place. The company said the acquisition of Vizio will make it the world’s largest internet TV access point.
Currently Vizio TVs are distributed only in the United States and Canada, but LeEco executives said they expect to expand the TV hardware business to a global platform.
LeEco executives said they had pursued making the deal for two years, but didn’t find a receptive seller until about six months ago.
In announcing the deal, which still awaits regulatory approvals, William Wang, Vizio co-founder and chairman, said: “I have mixed feelings. As the owner and father of Vizio, I am very reluctant to let it go. But as the CEO and owner of the company, I know this is the right decision to make for our hardworking employees and loyal shareholders.”
LeEco, which recently changed its name from LeTV, is China’s largest Internet-based content distribution company, and has been selling televisions in its home market under the LeTV brand at low prices that some observers have said are priced at or below cost in order to build a large base of purchasers who will subscribe to its LeCloud streaming services and view advertising sold by LeEco and streamed on its hardware and service platforms.
Read more about LeEco’s acquistion of Vizio after the jump:
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