Hulu for sale? It seems so. After back and forth talks about their CEO leaving and resigning deals recently with the major networks, the company now has a For Sale sign out on the lawn. Hulu has picked up investment banks Morgan Stanley and Guggenheim Partners to help them setup a sale. Interested parties have already been notified that the sale process would be starting in as soon as two weeks.
Of course, we learned of this news after following a story earlier in the week where Yahoo! came forward with interest in an acquisition but did not make a formal bid. At that point, nobody had an idea if Hulu was willing to sell and they hadn't taken any steps towards preparing for a sale. Now with the addition of the banks, there is a clear line drawn on where Hulu wants to go with this. Not only are they on the minds of potential buyers, but the owning companies, News Corp., Disney, NBC Universal/Comcast and Providence Equity are looking to leave the media streaming service just three years after its inception.
Could this really be? Click the break for more.
It does make sense. Even after the Hulu Plus launch and the service making its way to the Xbox 360 and other platforms, CEO Jason Kilar has been under the gun by the owners. They have been concerned for a while now about the true success of the site and that it goes against everything the usually TV-oriented companies stand for. Network heads have been upset because they are paying licensing fees to broadcast the same shows on their network that Hulu streams out for free.
However, other than Yahoo!, who's pretty much said that if Hulu were to sell, they'd buy, it's not clear who else would be interested in buying at this point. Clearly a big note here is that if FOX, ABC and NBC all leave, will they still provide their shows on the site when the new owning company steps in to continue operations? I sure hope so, otherwise the 27 million monthly viewers and the possible $2 billion price tag could be all for nothing, regardless if a single owner may be better for business.
Still, the bigger question is will this help or hurt Hulu's move to make a bigger impact on rival Netflix? Can Yahoo! step in and take the company to the top spot or will it take a company like Ebay, Apple or Google to do it?
There's a lot of questions to be answered now and we look to stay on top of it all as this unfolds in the coming weeks.