After fielding some almost disrespectful low ball bids, the owners of premium video-streaming service Hulu must be pleased as punch now that they’re getting bids closer to their expectations. Bloomberg News’s Andy Fixmer & Alex Sherman report three bidders have offered at least $1 billion for the streaming service co-owned by NBC Universal, Fox, and ABC-Disney. Direct TV is the only company identified as a billion dollar suitor; the other two are unknown. “Hulu would give DirecTV, with 20 million subscribers, a lower-cost online video offering alongside its more expensive pay-TV packages,” Fixmer and Sherman explain.
This has to be great news for Hulu’s cabal of owners, who were prepared to turn down any offer for less than $1 billion, AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher reported. And the two bids we know of were considerably lower than that: Yahoo! offered $600-$800 million, depending on certain details, while former News Corp. executive Peter Chernin bid $500 million. Other companies reportedly in the mix for Hulu: Time Warner Cable, and private equity firms Guggenheim Digital, KKR and Silver Lake Management.
This is the second time on the auction block for Hulu, and the sharp increase in the money on the table shows the system will likely sell this time. Three or four bidders will reportedly be chosen over the next several days as finalists in sale process. Hulu’s owners have been trying to sell the service for $1 billion ever since the $2 billion valuation the company received about year ago. But high revenues and mountains of debt have made the pursuit of a buyer difficult.