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Hulu Retains Guggenheim Partners on Possible Sale of Company

18 Apr, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Financial services firm is also considering submitting a bid for the online content aggregator

Hulu reportedly has hired financial services firm Guggenheim Partners as consultant to a possible private sale of the online content aggregator co-owned by The Walt Disney Co., News Corp. and NBC Universal.

Guggenheim was originally retained in 2011 when Hulu’s owners unsuccessfully sought to sell the streaming service for around $2 billion. The New York-based firm is also weighing submitting its own bid for Hulu, according to Reuters, which cited sources familiar with the situation.

Hulu, which owns and operates subscription video-on-demand service Hulu Plus and Hulu Japan, is coming off a banner 2012 when it reported 3 million Plus subscribers and revenue approaching $700 million — up 65% from 2011.

At the same time, with the burgeoning rise of Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video and upstart Redbox Instant by Verizon, and accompanying content license costs, Disney and News Corp. have reportedly been reassessing their stakes in Hulu.

Disney, which recently inked an exclusive pay-TV distribution agreement with Netflix beginning in 2017, is said to be favoring an ad-supported business model for Hulu, while News Corp. proposes a subscription-based model. The renewed desire to sell Hulu could mean the two media companies just want to cash in their stakes.

Third owner Comcast forfeited say in any Hulu action as a condition of its NBC Universal acquisition.

Guggenheim recently launched Guggenheim Digital Media with former News Corp. executive Ross Levinsohn heading the unit to explore digital properties such as Hulu.

Guggenheim last year spearheaded the $2.15 billion purchase of the Los Angeles Dodgers. It also owns stakes in Billboard, Adweek, The Hollywood Reporter and Dick Clark Productions.

Former Hulu board member and News Corp. executive Peter Chernin has also reportedly submitted a $500 bid for the company.


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