Here We Go Again: Peter Chernin Bids $500M for Hulu

/ Apr 8, 2013

VideoInk - Wide Tile_Chernin_Hulu

Peter Chernin, the former president of News Corp., wants Hulu and is willing to pay $500 million (or more) for it. According to a Reuters report last Friday, Chernin’s holding company, The Chernin Group, has placed a bid for Hulu as its current owners, namely Disney and News Corp., continue to weigh their options on what to do with the embattled video streaming service.

Chernin’s not the only one who has interest in the company. AllThingsD reported earlier this year that former Yahoo interim CEO and current chief executive at Guggenheim Digital Media, Ross Levinsohn, has also asked about the company. In addition, multiple reports have indicated about a potential deal under which Disney or News Corp. would buy the other’s ownership stake in Hulu.

If any of this reminds you of fall 2011, you’re not in the wrong. Back then, web and media heavyweights like Amazon, Dish Network, Google, and Yahoo! all vied to take control of Hulu.

Eventually, the owners, which consisted of Disney, News Corp., Comcast, and Providence Equity Partners, decided to take Hulu off the block. This was partly due to the fact that Disney, News Corp. and Comcast couldn’t agree on how much of their programming they’d be willing to license to the new owner as part of the sale. The owners instead opted to work “together to continue mapping out [Hulu’s] path to even greater success.”

Then, about a year ago, Providence Equity sold its 10% stake in Hulu to the company’s three other owners for about $200 million.

This was followed by longtime CEO Jason Kilar’s departure last month; right around the time the rumor-mill began to heat up once again that Hulu might be on the shopping block.

To be fair, there is some added intrigue this time around. Chernin was one of the earliest architects of Hulu and is a former board member. In addition, Providence Equity Partners has already invested $200 million into The Chernin Group. Which is to say, if Chernin does indeed end up buying Hulu, then, well, this.

But, just like 2011, that’s a big if. It’s not as if the issues that plagued the 2011 bidding process no longer exist today. The current owners still have differing opinions on what Hulu’s business model should be, and there is no indication that they are now more willing to give a potential new owner “first-look” access to their programming.

So, as was the case in 2011, there’s a chance Hulu gets a new owner in the coming months. But don’t bet on it.

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