WME Enters Hulu Sale Fray

Private equity firm Silver Lake enters the bidding


Talent agency WME has paired up with its private-equity backer Silver Lake Management on a bid to acquire Hulu.

While a report from Bloomberg on Friday didn’t specify exactly what role WME would play in a potential acquisition, sources suggest the two entities would team up on the bid. The agency would be using funds separate from what Silver Lake funnels into the firm.

A rep for WME declined comment.

Silver Lake is mentioned along with KKR & Co. as companies submitting bids for the online video hub, which is owned by Disney, News Corp. and NBCUniversal.

The companies join a list of suitors expected to submit bids including DirecTV, Time Warner Cable, Guggenheim Digital and Chernin Group.In addition, it came to light Friday that Yahoo has joined the roster, while another tech giant that was reported to be entertaining a bid, Amazon, is staying out of the running.

While it would be unusual for WME to play a role in any capacity of operating Hulu, the agency has been an investor in new-media properties in recent years, including OToy, Airtime, Chill and OpenSky.

Silver Lake, which is heavily invested in Silicon Valley companies, bought a 31% stake in the agency last year.