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Walmart to invest $250 million in joint venture with content firm Eko - source

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10/11/2018 | 08:04am EDT
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Walmart is seen outside of a new Walmart Store in San Salvador

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Walmart Inc has signed a joint venture with Eko, a developer of interactive video content, to attract shoppers and boost customer engagement, and will invest $250 million in the venture as well as a funding round, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Scott McCall, senior vice president for entertainment, toys and seasonal (products) for Walmart U.S. confirmed the venture to Reuters in an interview but declined to comment on the investment amount.

With the venture, called W*E Interactive Ventures, Walmart and Eko will develop interactive content spanning toy catalogs to cooking shows, McCall said.

The move broadens Walmart's entertainment offerings, which include its video-on-demand service Vudu and recently launched ebooks platform called Walmart ebooks. Earlier this week, the retailer signed a partnership with movie studio Metro Goldwyn Mayer to create content for Vudu and prop up the service's viewership. [nL2N1WO0BT]

Eko has previously received funding from investors like Sequoia Capital, Intel Capital, the investment arm of Intel Corp, Warner Music Group Corp, Samsung, Walmart, and others, and has more than 15 patents for its technology.

Yoni Bloch, chief executive of Eko, will lead the joint venture, Walmart said.

Jane Rosenthal, who has produced films like Meet The Parents and Meet The Fockers, will be a strategic adviser, and Nancy Tellem, chief media officer and executive chairman of Eko, who was previously president at CBS Network Television Group, will be on the board of the venture, the retailer said.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

By Nandita Bose

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
INTEL CORPORATION 0.09% 44.57 Delayed Quote.-5.03%
SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO LTD End-of-day quote.
WAL-MART STORES 0.80% 102.67 Delayed Quote.10.22%
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EBIT 2020 21 671 M
Net income 2020 14 269 M
Debt 2020 47 849 M
Yield 2020 2,09%
P/E ratio 2020 20,32
P/E ratio 2021 20,35
EV / Sales 2020 0,65x
EV / Sales 2021 0,63x
Capitalization 294 B
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