Talking tech since 2003

One of the big bidders looking to snag television-streaming service Hulu has taken itself out of the running, says a post on AllThingsD today. Silver Lake Partners, a tech-focused private equity firm, had previously been reported as pursuing a purchase of Hulu alongside other companies like Yahoo, DirecTV, and a joint venture between AT&T and the Chernin Group.

The post notes that this pares the companies bidding on Hulu down to just a handful still in the running: the aforementioned three, plus Time Warner and Guggenheim Partners. The post doesn’t rely on any official word from Silver Lake over this most recent development, but cites “sources close to the situation,” who further speculate that DirecTV may come out as the winner when the dust settles on the bidding process. Though, why exactly DirecTV may have a leg up on the other companies is anybody’s guess.

I’ve previously speculated about the ways a Hulu purchase could benefit AT&T insofar as it would provide another draw to its telecommunications services. Exclusive access or discounts to Hulu Plus subscriptions could go a long way to bringing customers in. But how would DirecTV benefit, aside from merely providing the company another way to earn subscription money? I can see offering package deals with DirecTV sign-ups, but other than that, it’s more of what the company already provides: television.

In the end, despite my inability to come up with a particularly interesting edge that buying Hulu would give DirecTV, it’s usually not a bad thing for companies to grow in any way it can. Bringing in as popular and recognizable a brand as Hulu could help DirecTV in terms of widening the umbrella under which their services reach people. Even still, I’d be curious to see what kinds of ways Hulu and DirecTV could augment each others’ business should the latter actually buy the former.

Of course, this could all be moot if the sale doesn’t go through with anybody. The AllThingsD post cites sources who say that “it could turn out that no sale happens if the bids do not come in at levels of about $1 billion.” And today’s the bidding deadline, so hopefully we’ll get an answer as to Hulu’s future soon…


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