Media

With the Dailymotion deal dead, will Yahoo try buying Hulu?

Marissa Mayer Disrupt 2

The latest company rumored to be interested in buying streaming video service Hulu is Yahoo, according to a Bloomberg report that cites unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

The report indicates that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer recently met with members of Hulu’s executive team to learn more about what the service had to offer as well as what an acquisition deal might entail. And Yahoo isn’t the only company Hulu executives have spoken with recently, either. According to Bloomberg’s source, Amazon is also apparently interested.

Hulu’s owners, News Corp., Disney, and Comcast, want to sell the service due to disagreements over Hulu’s business strategy and because each of them would like to pursue separate digital strategies for their broadcast and cable networks. But that much has been known for a while. The more interesting side of the story is in who would buy Hulu and why would they want it.

Yahoo’s renewed interest in buying Hulu may be a result of failed negotiations to purchase French video service Dailymotion. Yahoo was believed to have been offering upwards of $300 million for a 75 percent majority stake in Dailymotion, but last month French Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg decided he didn’t want to sell such a successful French business to an American company. With the Dailymotion deal on ice, it is possible that Mayer is looking to Hulu as a plan B for boosting Yahoo’s presence in streaming video. Yahoo also recently signed an exclusive deal for all Saturday Night Live clips.

But one thing that may prevent Yahoo from acquiring Hulu could be the asking price. Last year, Hulu owners failed in an attempt to sell the service for around $2 billion, with none of the potential buyers coming anywhere close. And even with Hulu reporting record growth, it’ll be tough to find anyone willing to entertain a $2 billion sale.

In addition to Yahoo and Amazon, Guggenheim Digital Media has previously expressed interest in buying Hulu. Former News Corp. president Peter Chernin is also said to have made an offer to by the service for $500 million.

Photo by Sean Ludwig/VentureBeat