With the deadline for final bids for Hulu LLC ending last Friday, the Internet-video site attracted binding bids from at least three serious buyers, according to media reports on Monday. This is the second attempt by Hulu's high profile owners to sell it after the failed sale and IPO attempt in 2011.
The three groups that have submitted final binding bids reportedly include satellite television company DirecTV, Inc. (DTV), a combined bid from AT&T, Inc. (T) and former News Corp. President Peter Chernin's investment firm Chernin Group as well as a combined bid from Guggenheim Digital Media and private-equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR).
Some reports state that Time Warner Cable, Inc. (TWC) is also in the fray with its final bid. Meanwhile, a joint bid from Silver Lake Partners and William Morris Endeavor Entertainment LLC has been pulled out before the final stage as it was not willing to sweeten its initial bid. Another high profile bidder in search giant Yahoo, Inc. (YHOO) has pulled out from the final stage for similar reasons.
Hulu was earlier put on the block in 2011, with an expected minimum bid of $2 billion, but its owners subsequently retracted. However, the initial bids only ranged between $500 million and $1 billion this time around.
Hulu is owned by media giants News Corp. (NWS, NWSA), Walt Disney Co. (DIS) and Comcast Corp. (CMCSA). They are currently again exploring strategic options for the digital entertainment site including its sale. The owners are now hoping to reach an agreement on the sale process within the next eight weeks.
A five year-old video service, Hulu offers ad-supported on-demand streaming video of TV shows, movies, webisodes and other new media, trailers, clips, and behind-the-scenes footage from a host of networks and studios. Last year, Hulu, which has about 4 million users, recorded revenues of around $700 million.
DirecTV is considered a favorite to pull off the deal. DirecTV could be interested in Hulu as it would help expand its "TV Everywhere" services, which makes TV shows available over the Internet to pay TV customers. DirecTV and two other companies have reportedly bid in excess of $1 billion for Hulu.
El Segundo, California-based DirecTV is the largest U.S. satellite TV company that provides digital television entertainment to more than 32 million customers primarily in the U.S. and Latin America.
DTV closed Monday's regular trading session at $63.46, down $0.18 or 0.28% on a volume of 3.78 million shares, while T closed at $35.58, up $0.20 or 0.57% on a volume of 15.85 million shares.
by RTT Staff Writer
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