Hulu Will Not Sell Itself Off, Afterall

Posted by at 10:34 am on October 14, 2011

Hulu in a brief note said it had decided to stop its attempted selloff. The statement, which had the support of Disney, investor Providence Equity Partners, and Fox’s parent company News Corp., claimed that each of the owners though there was too much of a “unique and compelling strategic value” for each of them to sell. It would instead center on existing plans.

“Our focus now rests solely on ensuring that our efforts as owners contribute in a meaningful way to the exciting future that lies ahead for Hulu,” it said.

While not publicly confirmed, the exit might have been triggered by unconvincing bids. Of the few key bidders, Amazon, DirecTV, and Yahoo may have been seen as bidding too low. Yahoo is rumored to have jumped out early to deal with its internal turmoil.

Google was at one point a serious bidder and would have been hoping to bolster its YouTube TV plans. TV studios might have balked knowing that Google would likely try to reduce the need for traditional TV.

The bidding contest started after Yahoo made a surprise offer. Hulu saw that as an opportunity to explore a selloff and, at one point, talked to Apple in casual exploration of a deal. Some observers had seen any deal as problematic since the studios might lose control to a third party, such as Google, that wouldn’t attempt to shelter the legacy TV business from Internet competition.

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