updated 08:45 pm EDT, Thu August 11, 2011
Hulu buyout offers to start in earnest by Aug 19
Sources revealed Thursday that bidding would start in earnest on Hulu's self-sale late next week. Potential buyers are expected to make first bids worth "at least" $1.5 billion for both Hulu itself and the content deals it has with three major TV networks. The AllThingsD tip warned the price could drop if Hulu's management doesn't want to reduce its stake or rise if a buyer wanted a longer license than what Hulu has today.
No further evidence has emerged of who would be the most aggressive candidate to buy Hulu, though most put Yahoo in that position. Leaks have had it looking for a four-year exclusive. The search firm's video is considered a weak point, and it might use a Hulu deal to make itself a destination closer in value to YouTube.
Amazon, DirecTV, Facebook, Google, and carriers like AT&T and Verizon have all been mentioned as possible buyers. Pitches on the deal have even gone as far as Apple, although the iTunes owner isn't thought to be serious given its existing ownership of iTunes and usual disdain for subscription access to content.
Hulu only began considering a sale in earnest when it received a mystery offer in June. The original source has never been identified, and it's not clear if this company is still involved in the current bidding.