Posted in: Broadband Video Companies, Hulu, Making Money & Web Video, News, Video on Demand by Dave Parrack on July 12, 2013

Hulu has been withdrawn from sale for the second time in its history, with the joint partners once again deciding against accepting the bids that were coming in, just as they did in 2011. Instead, the three partners are investing new millions in the streaming video venture… at least until the next time they decide to sell.

To Sell Or Not To Sell: The Sequel

In 2011 Hulu was put up for sale, but bids of between $2 billion and $4 billion turned out to be too low to persuade the joint owners to sell the company. And now the same thing has happened once more.

Hulu was put up for sale in March 2013 after CEO Jason Kilar stepped down. Two rounds of bidding then took place, with DirecTV and AT&T/the Chernin Group ending up as the frontrunners with bids reportedly in excess of $1 billion.

And then suddenly, and inextricably, the sale was cancelled, with 21st Century Fox, NBCUniversal, and The Walt Disney Company deciding they were going to stick with the venture for a little longer.

The Future Of Hulu

The three partners have promised to provide a cash infusion of $750 million in order to “propel future growth.” In other words, everything is staying as it is, but the new money will be used to increase both the range of content and the number of subscribers.

Hulu makes a lot of sense in its current format, with Hulu Plus managing to gain 4 million subscribers despite being far from perfect. And yet there’s an obvious feeling amongst its owners that the honeymoon cannot last forever.

Conclusions

It’s pure guesswork at this point in trying to work out what the joint owners of Hulu have been doing. To put a going concern up for sale twice in three years, only to decline all bids and confirm their commitment to the venture stinks of something, but what?

The obvious assumption to make is that the bids received weren’t as high as expected, but it seems they were fair at the very least. Or perhaps the three partners are so unsure of what to do with this monster they’ve created, they’re flip-flopping on whether to sell or not. Either way, it’s a trend that may well repeat itself in the years to come… see you in 2015.

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