Fox, Disney, NBCU pull Hulu for-sale sign; invest $750M in online video distributor
Hulu owners 21st Century Fox, NBCUniversal and Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) said Friday that they won't sell their equity stakes in the company and will instead plow $750 million into the online video distributor.
The move may be a setback for DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV), which had reportedly submitted a bid to acquire Hulu, and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), which had reportedly submitted a bid which would make it a partial owner.
"We believe the best path forward for Hulu is a meaningful recapitalization that will further accelerate its growth under the current ownership structure," 21st Century Fox COO Chase Carey said in a prepared statement.
In addition to generating interest from DirecTV and Time Warner Cable, Hulu reportedly received a bid from AT&T (NYSE: T) and former News Corp. President Peter Chernin. "We had meaningful conversations with a number of potential partners and buyers, each with impressive plans and offers to match, but 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," Carey added.
Fox, Disney and NBCU didn't say what Hulu would do with the capital infusion. But with rival Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) using original series such as "House of Cards" and "Arrested Development" to grow its subscriber base, Hulu will likely increase its investment in original content as well.
Hulu's owners said Friday that it generated $690 million in revenue in 2012, and that it now counts more than 4 million subscribers to its Hulu Plus premium service.
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