Liberty Media’s John Malone Tried to Buy Netflix in 2009 at $8 Per Share
John Malone, a media investor and the largest voting shareholder of Liberty Media, told CNBC that he knew the importance of video streaming in the early 2000s, when Netflix was distributing DVDs by mail, revolutionizing on Blockbuster’s model. When the rental service turned to streaming in 2007, the world never looked back.
In an interview, the billionaire tells CNBC’s David Faber about how he attempted to have DirecTV purchase Netflix, when he was chairman of the satellite-television service from 2008 to 2010. “I tried to buy Netflix from [co-founder] Reed Hastings when the stock was eight bucks, but he wouldn’t sell it to me. You know, damn that bad luck.”
Two years before Netflix became a video streaming service, HBO considered buying it as well. HBO’s executives ultimately cut any plans to pursue the deal because they were afraid to upset their relationship with cable providers.
Netflix has come a long way since $8 per share to become the most dominant streaming service in the world. On Wednesday, Netflix shares hit an all-time high of $700.99, a 8,660% increase since 2009.
Now in 2021, Malone said, “The market is obviously putting huge market valuations on Netflix — and frankly, Netflix relative to Disney.” Netflix had about 214 million global paid subs at the end of its latest quarter. Although Disney+, only launched two years ago, they are the second-largest streaming service with 118.1 million subscribers. Digital TV Research predict that in 2026, Netflix will lose its lead to Disney.
Over the course of the interview, he continued to praise Big Tech and what their leaders have accomplished, including Netflix’s CEO Hastings. “These are brilliant businessmen who have seized an opportunity, seen the power of global scale, and have exploited it,” the veteran media tycoon said.
Netflix continues to lead the streaming landscape. As they branch out with unique content and even dive into the gaming world, they could prosper further as a company by embracing the changes in the digital landscape.