updated 04:20 am EDT, Fri May 24, 2013
DirecTV, Time Warner Cable interested in streaming TV service
Four parties have allegedly placed bids to purchase streaming service Hulu, with the first round of bidding apparently due to end this week. Guggenheim Digital Media, DirecTV, and Time Warner Cable are said to be interested in the company, following a bid from former News Corp president Peter Chernin for a reported $500 million.
The Guggenheim Digital Media offer is said by the LA Times to be headed by former Yahoo interim chief executive Ross Levinsohn, with the bid being an attempt for it to expand its current media portfolio, which currently includes Adweek, Billboard, and the Hollywood Reporter. The offer from Guggenheim Digital Media may end up facing extra scrutiny due to Guggenheim Securities advising the sale, despite being a separate legal entity with different owners.
Reuters also reports that DirecTV and Time Warner Cable put in bids, with both likely to want to use Hulu to provide TV programming and other streaming video content to their subscribers, which could be attractive to new customers.
None of the bids from DirecTV, Time Warner Cable, nor Guggenheim Digital Media were disclosed, and it is possible that the apparent $500 million bid from Chernin may end up being far less than Hulu's management hoped to get. In 2011, Hulu expected to receive bids in the $2 billion ballpark, and though Dish offered $1.9 billion and Google bid nearly $4 billion with concessions, Hulu failed to be sold.
Another option for Hulu is for one of its current owners, News Corp and Disney, to buy the other out. Comcast, the third partner in Hulu, cannot take part in sale discussions, due to regulatory restrictions from its acquisition of NBCUniversal.