Hulu tempted to sell by mystery bidder

hulu temptWeb-video purveyor Hulu is debating whether to sell (itself) after an unsolicited offer to buy came knocking on their door. The possible buyer who approached Hulu LLC is currently unknown.

According to the New York Times who first reported on it, the bid has stirred up the directors who are considering their options and whether they should solicit offers from larger companies and private-equity firms. Hulu stands at a pivotal position because many companies are eager to distribute more content online.

Though there’s no news yet on who approached the company, CNBC has ruled Google out of the picture. The Los Angeles Times reports that Yahoo Inc. has approached the company recently, though it’s not clear if this is the same offer that the New York Times announced earlier today. The masks are still on and it would be interesting to see who approached them and who Hulu plans to approach: Yahoo, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon, not to mention companies with a share of the streaming video service like Comcast and News Corp, could all benefit.

Hulu has a good portion of online viewers and has secured exclusive rights to many popular TV shows. Though the company ranked 10 on comScore’s May online video rankings with 28 million viewers to Google site’s (including YouTube) 147.2 million unique visitors, they were ranked number one for ad impressions with a fourth of America’s 4.3 billion video ads watched on Hulu. According to Chief Exec Jason Kiler, Hulu is also well on it’s way to the $500 million 2011 revenue goal.

This might be a good move for the company as they close their long term content deals. Also, Hulu has long had a very confusing ownership structure and the sale could make things a little simpler. Currently the online video company is owned by Walt Disney Co., News Corp and Comcast/GE’s NBCUniversal as well as Providence Equity Partners with a 10% stake. Though this current ownership has helped Hulu secure some of their exclusive rights, the shot callers have butted heads over content.

Hulu has not decided whether it will be selling yet, and there is the possibility they won’t sell.

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