Hulu Bankers Said to Meet Suitors Google, Yahoo, Microsoft

Hulu Said to Meet With Potential Buyers
Hulu LLC's website at Source: Hulu via Bloomberg

Bankers for Hulu LLC, the video-streaming service, have met with Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. as the company explores a sale, people familiar with the process said.

Morgan Stanley and Guggenheim Partners have reached out to 10 to 12 potential bidders, including AT&T Inc., said two people who weren’t authorized to speak publicly.

A sale may bring more than $2 billion to Hulu’s owners, which include Walt Disney Co., News Corp. and Comcast Corp.’s NBC Universal, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and SNL Kagan. Hulu was approached by a potential suitor, starting the process, people familiar with the matter said on June 21.

Elisa Schreiber, a spokeswoman for Los Angeles-based Hulu, declined to comment, as did Chris Gaither, a spokesman for Mountain View, California-based Google. Kim Rubey, with Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo, Lisa Tryall, at Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft and Brad Burns, with Dallas-based AT&T also declined to comment.

The Los Angeles Times reported the meetings earlier.

Hulu would be attractive to any large company seeking to build an online content business, Clayton Moran, an analyst with Benchmark Co. in Boca Raton, Florida, said last week.

Hulu reached tentative agreements to renew rights to television shows from Disney, owner of the ABC broadcast network, and Fox parent News Corp., people with knowledge of the matter said last week.

Ownership Change

Comcast stepped back from a management role at Hulu as a condition for regulators to allow its purchase of NBC Universal, leaving decisions to Burbank, California-based Disney and Rupert Murdoch’s New York-based News Corp. Providence Equity Partners, the Rhode Island private-equity company, is also a part-owner.

Under a new owner, Hulu may gain capital to acquire more films and TV shows and challenge Netflix Inc., the dominant subscription streaming service.

Hulu, which never went forward with a planned IPO that envisioned a $2 billion value for the company, has said it will exceed 1 million users for its $7.99-a-month service and have $500 million in total sales this year.

SNL Kagan estimates Hulu will generate $45 million in profit this year.

Netflix, based in Los Gatos, California, has 23 million customers and may generate six times as much in revenue. It is valued at 53 times projected earnings, or more than $14 billion.

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