Providence Equity Partners, the only one of Hulu’s four owners that isn’t a media company, has sold its 10 percent stake in the premium TV streaming video site for $200 million, reports Bloomberg .
Providence was nearing a deadline on a decision to either keep its stake in Hulu, or sell it to the other co-owners, which include News Corp. (Fox), Comcast (NBCUniversal), and Disney (ABC). Providence’s initial investment in Hulu was $100 million back in 2007. And while the equity firm sold for double that amount, some have estimated that Hulu’s total worth is in the range of $2 to $4 billion. That figure lines up with the amount of money the owners expected to get when Hulu in the middle of an auction to sell the site back in September 2011.
The service, which provides ad-supported premium TV and film content to users, was first put up for sale in June. At that time, its joint-owners felt selling Hulu would make more sense than constantly butting heads over the site’s future business strategy. With Providence now absent from the conversation, it leaves only News Corp. and Disney making decisions. Comcast, as part of the FCC’s conditions for approval of its purchase of NBCUniversal from General Electric, is barred from making strategic decisions in regards to Hulu.
Speaking of Hulu’s future, the streaming video service seems to have a bright one. Hulu gets about 38 million monthly visitors, according to comScore and reported $420 million in revenue for 2011 (up 60 percent from the previous year). Last week Hulu announced that it now has 2 million paying customers of its premium $8 per month subscription service, Hulu Plus. Last week, Hulu executives also announced sweeping changes to its advertising and content strategies.
We reached out to Hulu for more information, but the company declined to comment about the matter.
Our upcoming GrowthBeat event — August 5-6 in San Francisco — is exploring the data, apps, and science of successful marketing. Get the scoop here, and grab your tickets before they're gone!