Walmart Buys Vudu

BENTONVILLE, ARK: Walmart today announced a definitive agreement to acquire Vudu, maker of video-on-demand technology that pulls content off the Web for display on TVs and Blu-ray. The deal is expected to close within the next few weeks. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Vudu has licensing agreements for around 16,000 titles with almost every major movie studio and dozens of independent and international distributors, including what Walmart says is the “largest collection of 1080p video-on-demand movies available anywhere.” Using a broadband connection, Vudu users can rent or buy movies and start watching them on TV immediately.

Vudu makes a stand-alone box but also licenses its technology for integration in LG’s NetCast line of TV sets, as well as models of TVs made by Sanyo, Sharp, Vizio, Toshiba and Mitsubishi. Roku and NetGear make similar Web-to-TV set-top boxes.

Vudu will continue developing entertainment and information delivery technology, such as Vudu Apps, the platform that delivers streaming Internet content and services to TVs and Blu-ray players with built-in Internet connectivity. Vudu has partnerships with Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, The New York Times and The Associated Press.

Vudu, based in Santa Clara, Calif., was founded six years ago and has raised a total of $21 million in venture cap, published reports indicate. It will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Walmart. The company is not disclosing financial terms of the agreement as the acquisition is not material to its first quarter earnings for fiscal year 2011.