The auction for Hulu is said to have attracted at least three bids in excess of $1 billion, according to a report in Reuters.
Hulu, owned by Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS), News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWSA) and Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), has reportedly fielded bids from DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV), Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO), Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) and a handful of private-equity groups and private-equity-backed bidders.
Initial bids were said to have been lower. The Chernin Group, led by former Fox executive Peter Chernin and backed by Providence Equity Partners--which divested its 10 percent stake in Hulu last year--reportedly bid about $830 million for the site, a price that includes the assumption of about $330 million in debt.
The new, higher bids could finally lead to a sale of part or all of the site, which has teetered on the verge of a major liquidity event such as a sale or initial public offering for years.
"Hulu is of interest to many," BTIG Research analyst Rich Greenfield told Bloomberg. "The question is: can Hulu be used for more than what it's being used for today," he said.
If so, the brand and site may have lasting value. But without long-term rights to the major broadcast network-produced programming, the site may not be worth much.
Hulu auction yields several bidder but no buyer
Hulu said to attract pay-TV distributors