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Netflix shares fall on potential Apple competition

Netflix Inc. shares fell the most since October following a report that Apple Inc. is in talks for a streaming TV partnership with Comcast Corp.

Netflix, based in Los Gatos, California, fell 6.7 percent to $378.90 at the close in New York, the biggest decline since Oct. 22. The retreat was part of a broader sell-off of technology stocks on the Nasdaq 100. Netflix has lost about 17 percent from the all-time closing high of $454.98 on March 4.

Apple is in talks with Comcast, the nation’s largest cable provider, to deliver shows through the $99 Apple TV set-top box, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, citing people it didn’t identify. The Cupertino, California-based company also has held talks with Time Warner Cable Inc. Apple seeks to unveil a device by April and have it for sale by the Christmas holidays, people with knowledge of the matter have said.

Joris Evers, a spokesman for Netflix, declined to comment.

Netflix in February agreed to pay Philadelphia-based Comcast millions of dollars annually for more-direct connections that ensure improved speed and reliability for its video service.

Netflix, which will spend $7.25 billion on movies and TV shows over the next five years, has built a lead in Internet television by spending heavily and because many media companies that own TV shows and movies have been reluctant to sell content directly to other online services.

Such a move could harm cable and satellite providers who pay licensing fees that make up a substantial part of media companies’ revenues.

Comcast rose 0.6 percent to $50.30. Apple gained 1.2 percent to $539.19.

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times