Someone is thinking of buying Hulu, and the L.A. Times says it’s Yahoo–big, messy deal, Carol!–but speculation is all over the map. “It seems like a weird thing” agreed moderators for The Wall Street Journal’s Digits Live webcast today, because Hulu is owned by content providers including News Corp., Walt Disney and Comcast, who therefore have an incentive to ink content deals with the web-based broadcaster. Without the ownership stake, why would networks want to provide content to a competing medium? They’re already at odds with Netflix because of its on-demand service. (Ooh! Maybe Netflix is the buyer!)
Regardless, Hulu’s board is taking the offer seriously, the Journal’s Jessica Vascellaro said, if only to stop all the fighting. “The news comes as Hulu is in the midst of renewing its content deals with its media owners. Hulu is owned by Walt Disney Col, News Corp., and Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal,” the Journal writes. “The ‘messy ownership structure’ has contributed to the site’s success, guaranteeing rights to TV content, but it has led to management spats.”
“Hulu was approached with some sort of unsolicited offer for the company, we don’t know who, but they’ve been reaching out to advisers, thinking through options, and may not pursue this… but they’ve begun the process.”
Yahoo buying Hulu makes little sense to us, unless the networks really are sick of managing the Hulu threat–in which case a sale to the notorious start-up killer would be kind of brilliant.