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Hulu considering multiple takeover offers?

Hulu (homepage, Glee)
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Last week, reports surfaced that streaming video service Hulu had been approached by a mystery bidder about taking over the comp[any, and now the Wall Street Journal reports (subscription required) that the company will be meeting with a range of potential buyers in the next few weeks—and names on the table run from Internet giant Yahoo to private investors.

The Wall Street Journal piece cites anonymous sources claiming the company is contacting firms in the “media, technology, and communications” businesses about a possible buyout.

According to industry sources, Hulu began exploring takeover options last week following an unsolicited overture from Yahoo to talk about acquiring the company. However, Hulu may have trouble finding investors willing to step into the firm’s complicated licensing and distribution situation. Hulu has been struggling to find a steady mode of operation, with Hulu executives seeming to want to open up the service with more content to attract a wider audience, while Hulu’s owners—Fox, ABC, NBC Universal—are apparently dissatisfied with Hulu’s results and believe they can do better if they take their online content elsewhere. Meanwhile, Netflix has emerged as the clear leader in online streaming.

Hulu has frustrated consumers too, as the company has locked away many offerings behind its paid “Hulu Plus” subscription service and content providers have forced it to decrease the amount of new material available via free ad-supported streaming. Hulu’s CEO Jason Kilar has even lashed out at the television studios who own the service, warning that refusing to adapt their business model to the streaming age will ultimately work against them.

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