Moving from rumor to hard fact today, Hulu is up for sale. ”Why?” seems to be the big question, and we can’t say as we blame anyone for asking that.
It all started with a report from The Wall Street Journal that the company had received an unsolicited offer to buy it out. No names have been mentioned as to who the potential suitor might be, but then a rumor started circulating that it could possibly be Yahoo. This is the name that has surfaced the most, but according to TechCrunch it isn’t the former search giant
At this point it wasn’t even clear if Hulu was actually looking for a buyer, but then more rumors began to circulate that the company co-owned by Walt Disney Co., News Corp., Providence Equity Partners and NBCUniversal, was indeed in play and they were talking with Morgan Stanley and Guggenheim Partners to assist with the sale. This remained in rumor for most of the day until CNBC’s Julia Boorstin Tweeted:
#Hulu has retained bankers Morgan Stanley and Guggenheim partners to help with a sale- to the auction block!
So, what started off as just a rumor has now moved to a full blown, “What the heck?”
Hulu has been trying to play catchup with Netflix for ages now, but it just hasn’t been able to get up that company’s levels of interest. From all reports, Hulu is indeed turning a profit, so it seems odd that these companies, which seem to have a win-win situation on their hands as they own the content shown on it, would want to bail out. Is there something going on behind the scenes that we are unaware of? Hulu CEO Jason Kilar said in April that the company was on track for $500 million in revenue this year, up from $263 million in 2010 on the back of advertising and the subscription portion of the company, Hulu Plus. That seems like a healthy amount of revenue to this outsider. True, the Comcast purchase of NBCUniversal raised some red flags in regards to its ownership in Hulu, but that still doesn’t seem to be a reason to call it a day.
That also raises a serious question for any potential future owners: How much will licensing all of this content cost them? There is a tremendous amount of programming on Hulu, and one has to suspect that the licensing fees to keep all of these shows and movies would be staggering. Somehow I suspect the broadcasters cut Hulu a deal on the licensing side of things, the same probably couldn’t be said for a third-party owner.
This is sure to be a story for quite a while, and with Hulu being one of the solutions cord cutters have looked to when dropping their cable subscriptions, it is sure to be one that keeps us interested until the deal is done.
What do you think about Hulu putting itself up for sale?