Digital Transformation

Hulu not for sale , even at $1 billion, as owners decide to keep their cake

By Noel Young | Correspondent

July 14, 2013 | 3 min read

Will Hulu ever be actually sold ? That was the question this weekend after Hulu's owners - 21st Century Fox, NBC Universal and Walt Disney - said that they would maintain ownership of the platform after all.

Hulu: Not for sale after all

They had received bids reaching about $1 billion but according to AdAge, "struggled to find the right balance between promising enough content after a sale and protecting their own traditional businesses."

In others words, they wanted to have their cake and eat it, said one industry cynic.

Hulu: Not for sale after all

DirecTV, Time Warner Cable and a combined bid from AT&T and Chernin Group were reportedly the would-be buyers left in the ring. Other interested parties were said to include Yahoo, Guggenheim Digital and investment firm KKR.

Content is the key to Hulu's appeal. The problem appears to have been that the sellers , trying to shelter their own businesses, were demanding a number of restrictions on the material they would provide Hulu.

This is the second time Hulu has backed away from a potential acquisition: It terminated another sale process in 2011.

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Now the present three owners will also provide a cash infusion of $750 million in order to propel future growth.

"We believe the best path forward for Hulu is a meaningful recapitaliszation that will further accelerate its growth under the current ownership structure," Chase Carey, president-chief operating officer of 21st Century Fox, said in a statement.

"We had meaningful conversations with a number of potential partners and buyers, each with impressive plans and offers to match, but with 21st Century Fox and Disney fully aligned in our collective vision and goals for the business, we decided to continue to empower the Hulu team in this fashion to continue the incredible momentum they've built over the last few years."

Hulu has annual revenue of $690 million and more than 4 million paying customers, according to the company.

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