Hulu Sale Called Off for the Second Time12 Jul, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Corporate owners 21st Century Fox, Walt Disney Co. and NBC Universal pledge $750 million cash infusion
For the second time since 2011, sale of Hulu and Hulu Plus has been canceled.
21st Century Fox, NBC Universal and The Walt Disney Co. July 12 said they will maintain their respective ownership positions in Hulu and together provide a cash infusion of $750 million in order to propel future growth for the online content aggregator.
“We believe the best path forward for Hulu is a meaningful recapitalization that will further accelerate its growth under the current ownership structure,” the media companies said in a statement.
Launched in 2008, Hulu has more than 30 million unique monthly visitors streaming content from more than 400 content partners.
“Hulu has emerged as one of the most consumer friendly, technologically innovative viewing platforms in the digital era. As its evolution continues, Disney and its partners are committing resources to enable Hulu to achieve its maximum potential,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement.
Sister SVOD service Hulu Plus has more than 4 million subscribers since launching in 2010. It generated $690 million in revenue in 2012.
“We believe the best path forward for Hulu is a meaningful recapitalization that will further accelerate its growth under the current ownership structure,” said Chase Carey, president and COO of 21st Century Fox.
Carey said Hulu’s owners had “meaningful conversations” with a number of potential partners and buyers, which reportedly included DirecTV, AT&T, former News Corp. executive Peter Chernin and Time Warner Cable, among others.
“With 21st Century Fox and Disney fully aligned in our collective vision and goals for the business, we decided to continue to empower the Hulu team, in this fashion, to continue the incredible momentum they've built over the last few years,” he said.
The comments mirror those made by Carey in 2011 when both News Corp. and Disney for the first halted Hulu sale efforts. At that time, the owners had reportedly sought $2 billion for the online content aggregator — a goal that never materialized despite high-profile bids from Dish Network, Yahoo and Google.