A report from AllThingsD said several potential purchasers have reached out to Hulu's corporate owners, though none have made a formal offer. The site lists Ross Levinsohn, the former interim Yahoo who now works for Guggenheim Partners, as one potential acquirer. Yahoo and Amazon are a couple of others that have "kicked the tires," AllThingsD said.Hulu, Yahoo, and Guggenheim Partners declined to comment. We've contacted Levinsohn and Amazon and will update the report when we have more information.
Hulu buyout rumors have popped up pretty often over the past couple of years. The company's owners, which include Walt Disney and News Corp., put the company up for sale in 2011 but, saying Hulu "holds a unique and compelling strategic value to each of its owners."
However, since that time, co-owner Providence Equity Partners sold its stake in Hulu, and Comcast's NBC Universal gave up its say in management matters because of regulatory restrictions related to the NBC acquisition. In addition, Hulu CEO Jason Kilar said in January that he would step down in the first quarter.
The remaining owners, Disney and News Corp., have disagreed on Hulu's strategy. News Corp., which owns Fox, would like to see Hulu transition away from ads and become a subscription-only service. Disney prefers a free service supported by ads. Along with speculation about an outside bidder taking over Hulu, there also has been talk that Disney or News Corp. could buy out the other's stake.
Hulu also was reportedly on Apple's radar as an acquisition target in 2011. Among other potential suitors, Google and Microsoft have also been mentioned as having shown interest in buying Hulu.