DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) and two other pay-TV distributors are reportedly still in the bidding for Hulu, while other potential buyers have dropped out of the auction for the online video site. Among financial bidders, a joint bid from Guggenheim Partners and the private equity group KKR was ruled out, according to a report in Bloomberg.
The AT&T (NYSE: T)-backed Chernin Group is also reportedly still in the auction. Like DirecTV, their joint bid is said to be in the range of $1 billion. Meanwhile, Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) is reportedly seeking a minority stake in the online video site.
As the auction concludes, various pay-TV providers are increasingly seeking over-the-top rights to the content they carry, the Los Angeles Times reported. Final bids on Hulu were due Friday and the company is expected to select a winner out of those offers, the Wall Street Journal reported.
As was the case when Hulu last tested the M&A waters, prospective buyers' attention has focused on the content licenses that would be included with a purchase of the site. Hulu's owners want to make sure the site doesn't lose access to important programming while still leaving themselves open to striking deals with other online distributors, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The auction comes as traditional distributors including DirecTV are seeking over-the-top licenses from content owners, the Los Angeles Times reported. This would allow them to reach any Internet-connected device, whether the device was within their traditional service area or elsewhere.
"They are all trying to get OTT rights," an executive at a major cable channel told the Times, without giving his or her name. So far, the bulk of those negotiations have not been successful, the Times said.
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Hulu bidding continues, but no buyer has emerged yet
Hulu auction draws in AT&T as speculation mounts about license sale
Bids for Hulu said to top $1B
This story was updated July 10 to reflect more recent bidding developments.