The Hulu sale is off. Multiple business media sources confirmed on Friday that Hulu owners Disney, 21st Century Fox, and NBCUniversal have yanked the streaming video service off the market.
The video up top from Bloomberg Tech talks about why the owners ultimately decided to keep Hulu.
As you can see, in addition to ending the Hulu sale, the owners have also decided to infuse the company with $750 million.
A CNBC report (which disclosed that NBCUniversal is their parent company) said that none of the owners involved would comment beyond the statement. Silent partner Comcast is not allowed to be involved in decision-making for regulatory reasons, but it’s providing half of that cash infusion.
It may seem like a somewhat surprising conclusion to the Hulu sale saga, which has been dogged by rumors and unconfirmed reports of various offers.
In early April, Rise of the Planet of the Apes producer Peter Chernin was rumored to have offered $500 million for Hulu. A Reuters report seemed to find the rumor plausible but said that nobody involved in the private bidding would comment — and they weren’t required to, since the sale wasn’t a public offering.
In mid-May, an unnamed source told Bloomberg that Time Warner Cable was considering a bid on Hulu in exchange for a 33 percent stake.
The New York Times had a rather wry take on Friday’s announcement:
“The owners of Hulu, having plotted a breakup twice now, have decided again to stay together — and as in many relationships of this sort, they are putting on a happy face and promising to work harder this time.”
Reporter Brian Stelter said it was a disappointing end to a rumored sale that could have gone as high as $1 billion to DirecTV.
According to CNBC, Hulu brought in $690 million last year. However, it could ultimately be a multi-billion dollar business at its current rate of growth.
Even with the rumored DirecTV offer, the owners apparently came to the conclusion that selling Hulu could be much less profitable than holding onto the company and expanding the subscription service.
Thus, the on-again, off-again Hulu sale was back off.
[image by Andrey Popov via Shutterstock]