Media owners keep Hulu website, may bring in partners

Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:01pm EDT
 
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By Lisa Richwine and Ronald Grover

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co, Twenty-First Century Fox Inc and Comcast Corp's NBCUniversal said on Friday they decided to keep their video streaming website, Hulu, and will invest $750 million to help it grow.

Hulu's owners are still talking to companies that could become partners for the service, a source with knowledge of the discussions said. One is Time Warner Cable Inc, which had offered to make an equity investment in Hulu, two sources told Reuters. The role of future partners has not been determined.

Time Warner Cable spokesman Justin Venech had no comment. Disney spokesman Kevin Brockman and Fox spokesman Dan Berger had no comment beyond the companies' statement.

This is the second time the media companies have decided against selling Hulu. They had collected bids from parties including satellite provider DirecTV and former News Corp president Peter Chernin, sources had previously told Reuters. DirecTV had offered more than $1 billion for Hulu, sources said.

The first time they weighed selling Hulu was in 2011.

Comcast is restricted from making business decisions related to Hulu as part of its settlement with the U.S. government when it acquired NBC Universal.

Hulu, launched in 2008, attracts more than 30 million unique monthly visitors, the companies said. The service has more than 4 million subscribers and generates revenue of about $700 million through subscriptions and a free ad-supported service.

In a statement on Friday, Chase Carey, Fox's president and chief operating officer, said Hulu's owners "had meaningful conversations with a number of potential partners and buyers, each with impressive plans and offers to match."   Continued...