updated 09:15 am EDT, Mon June 27, 2011
Hulu shopping itself to diverse mix of companies
Hulu has responded to a proposed buyout by shopping itself around to a very wide range of companies, insiders have said Monday. The TV streaming site has been reaching out to "media, technology and communications" firms to see how interested they might be. The WSJ understands Hulu could still go unsold.
The company so far hasn't triggered too much rebellion and could even see its current management steer some of the direction of the site without direct control. Providence Equity Partners, which invested $100 million in the company, is so far "happy" with Hulu and would mostly get a bonus from the extra cash.
Recent content renewals could also stay intact and are nearly done.
Which companies are discussing a deal haven't been mentioned. Google and Yahoo have been ruled out as making the initial offer, but it's possible they could be involved in the new discussions. Only speculation exists so far, but Facebook and even Apple have been floated as possible candidates in attempts to control streaming media.
Hulu is in an awkward position that makes any sale complicated. The company is built on content deals with TV studios Fox, NBC, and Disney that revolve around getting current shows as soon as possible in return for blocking the free service from all but the web. However, it has faced pressure from Netflix, where the content is often old but ad-free and available on TV. Studios that deal with Hulu want the best of both worlds, both getting TV-like ad revenue but trying to push for Netflix-like paid subscriptions when a viewer watches on TV.
Hulu hasn't commented on the latest rumors.