Netflix Shares Surge Amid Buyout Speculation

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Microsoft is rumored to be interested in the leading subscription-based provider of DVDs and streaming media.

Shares of Netflix advanced 13 percent on Friday amid renewed rumors that Microsoft could be interested in acquiring the streaming-media company.

The markets are closed on Monday due to Hurricane Sandy, an event that Netflix says has caused an increase in usage.

Netflix said that it is seeing 20 percent more streaming Monday than it did last Monday, and much of it is coming from the East Coast, near where Hurrican Sandy has touched down in New Jersey with 90 MPH winds.

"Initially we saw a lot of kids titles being watched, a sign that the kids are staying home from school," a Netflix spokesman said.

As for the buyout rumors, they've been percolating for a few weeks, ever since Microsoft said that Netflix CEO Reed Hastings would not seek reelection to its board of directors.

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Hastings said he was leaving the Microsoft board because he was busy with other duties, including his charitable work for the benefit of education and his board duties at Facebook.

"I've decided to reduce the number of boards I serve on, so that I can focus on Netflix and on my education work," Hastings said three weeks ago when announcing he'd be leaving the Microsoft board.

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The statement, though, did little to squash rumors that Netflix might in fact be a potential acquisition target for Microsoft. Hastings will continue serving on the board of the giant software company until its annual meeting of shareholders in November.

Netflix shares shot up $8.07 on Friday to $69.58 and were little changed in after-hours trading.