Hulu, the popular on-demand video streaming service, has been up for sale for some time now. A joint venture between News Corporation, The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal and Providence Equity Partners, the future ownership of the service has been the subject of much debate for well over a year.
In mid-2010, it emerged that Hulu might be preparing to sell stock, with an initial public offering (IPO) that would have valued the company at over $2bn. It wasn’t until almost a year later, though, that the company seriously began discussing a sale with interested parties (after a bid from Yahoo encouraged Hulu to invite proposals from other bidders), and since then, there’s been much discussion over who might buy it. A long list of companies has at one time or another been named as being interested in purchasing the service, including the likes of Microsoft and even Apple.
Now, Hulu’s owners have issued a short and fairly unrevealing statement confirming that the company will be sold to no-one at all, as the sale is now off:
Since Hulu holds a unique and compelling strategic value to each of its owners, we have terminated the sale process and look forward to working together to continue mapping out its path to even greater success. Our focus now rests solely on ensuring that our efforts as owners contribute in a meaningful way to the exciting future that lies ahead for Hulu."
Of course, Hulu’s joint owners didn’t just wake up today and realise what a great company they’ve got on their hands after all; it’s far more likely that the company abandoned its sale plans after it failed to attract the price that it wanted under the conditions that it specified. In the end, satellite TV company Dish Network submitted the highest bid under Hulu’s conditions at $1.9bn, but this fell short of the $2bn target that Hulu’s owners were seeking.
Google actually submitted by far the highest bid at $4bn, but it attached a range of undisclosed ‘special’ conditions to its bid, according to Business Insider.