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Comcast Says 'Pure Speculation' It's Mulling Bids for ViacomCBS or Roku

ViacomCBS and Roku are both in the spotlight on a report that Comcast is pondering a bid for one of the companies, even as Comcast calls it "pure speculation."

ViacomCBS  (VIACA) - Get Report and Roku  (ROKU) - Get Report were both in the spotlight on Thursday following a report that Comcast  (CMCSA) - Get Report was pondering a bid for one of the companies.

Comcast called the possibility "pure speculation."

Citing unnamed sources, The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday reported that Comcast CEO Brian Roberts has considered a transaction with ViacomCBS or an acquisition of Roku, though at the same time has made clear that Comcast doesn’t need to pursue a merger to grow its TV, movie and streaming portfolio.

A Comcast spokesperson told CNBC on Wednesday that the discussions were "pure speculation." Even so, the possibility of another big media merger pushed both ViacomCBS and Roku shares higher. 

ViacomCBS shares ended the trading day Wednesday up 2.7% to $41.84, their biggest one-day gain in almost a month. At last check, the stock was up 0.17% at $41.91. Roku shares ended the trading day Wednesday up 4.5% at $421.70. The stock was up 1.9% at $429.71 at last check.

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The speculation follows a flurry of recent merger activity in the media space, including Amazon’s  (AMZN) - Get Report pending $8.45 billion acquisition of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and AT&T’s  (T) - Get Report agreement to combine its WarnerMedia division with Discovery  (DISCA) - Get Report. ViacomCBS itself was created out of a merger of Viacom and CBS completed in late 2019.

Comcast owns NBCUniversal, a sprawling entertainment operation that includes TV and movies, though its Peacock streaming service is playing catch-up with Netflix  (NFLX) - Get Report and Walt Disney  (DIS) - Get Report, in particular Disney's Disney+ service. 

At the same time, Roberts is contemplating whether to continue to build out its offerings internally, particularly on the streaming side, or whether to buy something like ViacomCBS, whose stock has plunged since topping out at $101.97 on March 15.

ViacomCBS and Discovery both posted double-digit percentage losses in March after margin calls against family office Archegos Capital Management sparked forced block sales of both companies' shares.

Shares of Comcast were up 1.2% at $56.14. The stock ended the trading day Wednesday down 3.73% at $55.48.