Peter Chernin Offers $500 Million for Hulu5 Apr, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Former News Corp. executive helped launch online streaming service
Former News Corp. president Peter Chernin reportedly has submitted a private bid of about $500 million for Hulu, the online content aggregator co-owned by NBC Universal, The Walt Disney Co. and News Corp.
Hulu, which includes the Hulu Plus subscription video-on-demand service, is once again on the block after Disney and News Corp. sent out feelers to potential buyers in March in an effort to cash out their stakes, according to Reuters, which reported Chernin’s bid citing sources familiar with the situation.
NBC Universal parent Comcast gave up control of its minority interest in Hulu as a condition of the NBC acquisition. Disney and News Corp. reportedly have had differing outlooks on how Hulu should evolve, with Disney favoring an ad-supported business model and News Corp. opting for a subscription-based business model.
Chernin submitted the bid through his media company, The Chernin Group, which also owns a stake in Pandora, among other technology interests. The Chernin Group reportedly received $200 million in backing from Providence Equity Partners, which was an original equity holder in Hulu until selling out earlier this year.
Disney and News Corp. first put Hulu up for sale in 2011, valuing the property at the time at about $2 billion. Dish Network emerged as one of the top bidders at about $1 billion. Hulu's media owners subsequently took the platform off the market to re-evaluate their strategies. Google also submitted a bid, which included stipulations calling for exclusive content licenses.
Hulu Plus ended 2012 with 3 million subscribers and $700 million in revenue. Hulu last month promoted Andy Forssell to the position of acting CEO, effective at the end of the month when current CEO Jason Kilar departs.
Forssell, who has been SVP of content for Hulu, has been instrumental in the online content aggregator (notably Hulu Plus) acquiring upgraded third-party programming, including past complete seasons of CBS primetime series “The Good Wife.”