Former News Corp. COO played founding role in streaming website
Reuters is reporting that the former News Corp. COO offered $500 million for the streaming site, which he was instrumental in launching in a joint venture with NBCUniversal in 2007. A source familiar with the negotiations confirmed that Chernin bid for the site last month, but the current status of those talks is unknown.
While NBCU now has a non-controlling interest in the property as a condition of its sale to Comcast Corp., News Corp. and Disney are the current owners. The companies are reportedly considering a sale of Hulu given strategic differences they have over the future of the venture, which saw CEO Jason Kilar step down earlier this year.
Since stepping down from News Corp. in 2009, Chernin has led his own media holding company, Chernin Group, which has raised enough capital to go on the hunt for major acquisitions with the scale of a Hulu. The company reportedly kicked the tires of unscripted giant Endemol last year.
$500 million is a good deal lower than the $2 billion price tag reportedly attached to Hulu last its owners tried to shop the property in 2011. However, it is possible that the licensing deals for next-day access to primetime programming from its owners’ broadcast properties is not on the table, which would severely impact the value of Hulu.
Among other companies that have sniffed around Hulu include Amazon, Hulu and Guggenheim Digital Media, according to AllThingsD. But a sale is just one possibility, according to insiders, who suggest that the company could even take on an additional owner or stay at status quo. News Corp. could elect to unload its stake to Disney or vice versa, too.
Providence Equity Partners, which had a stake in Hulu until last year, is a major investor in Chernin Group.
A rep for Chernin Group declined comment.