Rumor: Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo interested in buying Hulu

It's been only a few days since the web streaming TV show web site Hulu put itself up for sale but it looks like it might have some interested buyers. The Los Angeles Times, citing unnamed sources, is reporting that Google is now in "preliminary talks" to acquire Hulu. The story also adds that Hulu has met with other possible buyers for the company including Microsoft and Yahoo. It is rumored that Yahoo made an unsolicited offer to buy Hulu earlier in June which got the company to put Hulu up for sale. Some analysts have estimated that Hulu could be sold for as much as $2 billion.

A sale to Google would be a huge benefit for the company which already owns the YouTube video web site. Linking YouTube with Hulu's library of TV show episodes and movies would seem like a natural fit. However, Yahoo is also looking to build up its premium services and Microsoft has had success offering video streaming of things like Netflix and ESPN on its Xbox 360 console.

Recently, Hulu signed a deal with two of its current co-owners, Fox and ABC, to extend the licensing deals to show current episodes of their TV shows on the Hulu web site. However, if Hulu is bought by an outside company those networks may insist that users of Hulu prove they are signed up to a cable or satellite service in order to watch TV episodes one day after they air on broadcast television.

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