Apple mulling Hulu acquisition?

Apple is in early talks for the online video service, according to a Bloomberg report, joining a growing list of possible suitors.

Apple has reportedly joined a growing list of companies said to be considering a bid for Hulu.

The iPad maker and iTunes purveyor is in early talks that may lead to an acquisition of the online video service, two unidentified sources told Bloomberg.

Apple could not immediately be reached for comment, and Hulu representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Apple, which currently holds $76.2 billion in cash and securities, has hinted that more content is coming to Apple's iTunes catalog, and Hulu's subscription service would instantly bolster its offerings and let it mount a greater challenge to Netflix and Amazon.

During Apple's Tuesday earnings call, Brian Marshall from Gleacher and Company asked why iTunes didn't have more TV and movie titles available and what Apple was doing to expand its offerings.

Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer responded, saying that the selection of movies and TV shows was "very, very broad," especially in the U.S., and that the company was adding more in other countries each quarter.

"Look for some more content later this quarter across the various stores," Oppenheimer said. "We have some neat stuff coming."

Hulu's current owners--Walt Disney, News Corp., Comcast, and equity firm Providence Equity Partners--have reportedly attracted a slew of interest from potential buyers since they put the company up for sale last month.

Yahoo has reportedly offered to pay up to $2 billion to acquire Hulu if the deal includes four or five years of exclusive access to current TV shows and older movies. However, Hulu's owners have reportedly been willing to offer the five years of access but only two years of exclusivity.

Google, Amazon, and Microsoft have also reportedly shown interest in Hulu, along with a host of other suitors . But Microsoft has since reportedly dropped out of the bidding.

In the last few years, Apple has held back on making major acquisitions, short of buying up mobile-advertising network Quattro Wireless for $275 million, and semiconductor maker Intrinsity for a reported $121 million, both in 2010.

 

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