Shares of Roku (ROKU -0.13%) climbed sharply higher on Thursday -- even as the broader market slipped -- jumping as much as 9.4%. As of 11:25 a.m. ET, the stock was still up 6.6%.
The catalyst that sent the streaming pioneer higher was speculation that the company could be on the verge of being acquired.
The rumor mill went into overdrive that Roku is preparing to be acquired, according to Dealreporter (as reported by The Fly). The publication focused on mergers and acquisitions (M&A) revealed that Roku had made a number of amendments to the severance language in its executive contracts, highlighting a "curious focus on change in control," which addresses what happens in the event of an acquisition.
Dealreporter noted that the changing language "is worth a closer look." The most recent executive severance plan has been revised to include nine additional mentions of the phrase "change in control," which could suggest that a merger or acquisition is in the offing.
This isn't the first time in recent months that speculation about a buyout has surged. Back in June, reports surfaced that "Roku abruptly closed the trading window for all employees, prohibiting them from selling any of their vested stock at a time when they should normally be able to do so," according to a report by Business Insider.
These aren't the only reasons speculation is swirling regarding a possible takeover. Roku stock has fallen nearly 80% since reaching its all-time high late last year, as investors have become increasingly convinced that best growth for streaming video is in the rearview mirror. As a result, Roku currently has a market cap of roughly $10 billion. Even with a generous buyout premium, the company could be had for less than $14 billion.
Roku is the leading streaming video aggregation platform -- with 63 million active accounts -- and is a growing force in digital advertising, as evidenced by its steadily growing average revenue per user, which has climbed every quarter since the company went public. This makes it a compelling acquisition candidate for a company looking to jump-start an entry into the space.
If you believe, as I do, that consumers have merely hit the "pause" button on streaming, Roku stock is an unqualified buy.