Apr 30, 2024 - Business

FTC seeks more information on $2.3B Walmart-Vizio deal

Illustration of a gavel with many sets of emoji eyes all around it

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

The Federal Trade Commission is requesting more information from Walmart and Vizio on their combination, Vizio said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The move could indicate the agency is preparing to block the $2.3 billion deal.

Catch up quick: Walmart announced the deal in February as a bid to boost its retail media network.

  • In late March, Walmart said it notified the FTC and the Department of Justice it would withdraw and refile a review application to give the regulators more time.

Zoom in: Vizio said in Tuesday's announcement that both companies would promptly respond to the FTC's request.

Zoom out: The FTC has been challenging mergers right and left, including more obvious targets like Kroger-Albertsons, alongside Tapestry and Capri (a development that surprised antitrust experts).

What we're hearing: The second request doesn't automatically guarantee regulators will block the deal, but it likely means there are competitive concerns from a vertical coverage standpoint, a source familiar with the situation tells Axios' Sara Fischer.

💭 Our colleague Kerry Flynn's thought bubble: The pending deal has also spooked some advertisers. Vizio not only has a massive connected TV advertising business — it's also a crucial data source for TV viewership.

  • In a Monday presentation for advertisers, Vizio did not go into detail on the deal but stressed its commitment to customers and announced several new ad formats.

The bottom line: The latest development is no surprise, given FTC chair Lina Khan's track record of stringency and Walmart's strong position in retail media.

Walmart and Vizio did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The FTC declined to comment.

Editor's note: The story has been updated with additional details regarding the FTC's second request.

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