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Yahoo out as Hulu mulls other bids, report says

Yahoo, which started the Hulu-acquisition craze, is now looking to sell off its own company, rather than acquire another.

Actor Alec Baldwin starring in an old Hulu commercial.
Actor Alec Baldwin starring in an old Hulu commercial.

As Hulu executives determine the proper direction for the future of their company, the firm that was first to show interest in acquiring the streaming-video provider has withdrawn from the race, a new report claims.

Currently, Hulu's board of directors is mulling bids from Dish Network, Amazon, and Google, The Wall Street Journal is reporting, citing anonymous sources. However, Yahoo, which first met with Hulu to discuss a possible acquisition, has backed out of trying to acquire the firm as it prepares to potentially sell off its own company.

With Yahoo out of the way, it appears Dish Network is now the new front-runner to acquire the streaming-video service, the Journal is reporting. The company initially offered $1.9 billion for Hulu, according to the Journal, but has asked Hulu to change its bid. Google, on the other hand, is willing to pay more than $2 billion, but has required Hulu to agree to certain conditions before it can complete the deal, the Journal says.

Talk of Hulu possibly being acquired kicked off earlier this year, when Yahoo reportedly approach the company about a possible buy. Although neither company confirmed it at the time, reports suggested Yahoo was willing to pay Hulu $2 billion, as long as the deal came with up to five years of exclusive access to current television shows.

After talks of an acquisition cropped up, Hulu then engaged investment banks to help it field offers from other companies.

Although Hulu might present some value to would-be buyers, so far the potential suitors have reportedly been careful with their bids. The issue is, Hulu's owners, NBC Universal, Fox, and ABC, haven't always been the most willing to share content on the Web. In fact, Fox recently made the decision to delay the availability of its content on Hulu. Previously, the company brought new episodes to the streaming service the next day after they aired, but now, it waits eight days.

Hulu CEO Jason Kilar didn't comment publicly on that move, but in February he wrote in a blog post that television executives are unwilling to accept the changing ways in which people want to access content, which has only proven to hurt their companies.

Aside from potential issues with content providers, it appears that a possible acquisition could be scuttled by Hulu's own board. According to the Journal, the board of directors is unsure if it really wants to sell the company, and could decide against it.

Hulu did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment on what its plans might be.