Hulu’s owners, who have been very publicly wanting to have their cake and eat it too, are being left with just, well, cake.
They’ve officially called off the sale of their streaming video service.
News Corporation, Providence Equity Partners, The Walt Disney Company and Hulu’s senior management team together announced in a blog post yesterday:
“Since Hulu holds a unique and compelling strategic value to each of its owners, we have terminated the sale process and look forward to working together to continue mapping out its path to even greater success. Our focus now rests solely on ensuring that our efforts as owners contribute in a meaningful way to the exciting future that lies ahead for Hulu.”
Hulu’s major value is not so much in its multi-billion-dollar price tag but the content deals that have been worked out with its owners (Unfiltered: Hulu: The complicated matter of the money-maker’s next play).
Hulu was hoping for a $2 billion sale tied to two years’ worth of streaming rights. It couldn’t get anyone to bite, though there were nibbles, with Google reportedly offering $4 billion but with the condition of several additional years’ worth of content rights. Hulu’s owners, apparently immune to the charms of Larry Page, passed on the deal.
Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olson, speaking on the “Bloomberg West” program in June, suggested that, should the sale get shelved, there was also the option of an IPO for Hulu. If one is in the works, said Olson, “it’s probably more like mid-to-late 2012.”