Did Hulu discuss sale with Amazon, Yahoo?

It has approached possible buyers for its internet video service.

By Benzinga Mar 26, 2013 5:06PM
By Louis Bedigian

Disney (DIS) and News Corp (NWSA) cannot decide whether they really want to part with the video service they helped popularize.


Even so, the two firms appear to be proceeding with another exit strategy.


According to Reuters, Hulu's board has approached potential buyers to gauge their interest in acquiring the online video service. NBC (which started Hulu with Fox) gave up corporate control after it merged with Comcast (CMCSA).


Reuters did not provide many other details, but an AllThingsD report -- published hours before the Reuters exclusive broke -- might help fill in the blanks.

According to AllThingsD's Peter Kafka, Yahoo (YHOO) and Amazon (AMZN) are among the firms interested in buying Hulu. Guggenheim Partners, a $160 billion fund manager that hired former Yahoo CEO Ross Levinsohn, is also said to be courting Hulu board members for a potential buyout.


If both reports are true, it would stand to reason that Hulu execs have met with Yahoo and Amazon to discuss their interest.


By acquiring Hulu, Amazon could bolster its existing online video library, which is currently part of the Amazon Prime subscription service. Initially designed to encourage Amazon customers to shop more often, Prime now offers a Netflix-inspired (NFLX) service with thousands of videos.


Amazon has worked hard to acquire new content deals with key Hollywood partners, including Warner Bros. Hulu would give Amazon access to an entirely new slate of content, including a number of exclusive TV shows.


Yahoo has yet to enter the online video industry with a paid service, but Hulu could provide that option.


The company, which recently introduced an endless newsfeed, has actively searched for new content providers to attract additional viewers.


Hulu is not the only streaming video giant on Yahoo's radar. The firm's CEO, Marissa Mayer, is reportedly interested in acquiring Dailymotion.


Unlike Hulu, which could feasibly cost upwards of a billion dollars, Dailymotion could be valued at just $300 million. The site is quite popular internationally, but its page views pale in comparison to those of Google's (GOOG) YouTube.


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