Hulu seen drawing bids from Yahoo, others: sources

Wed Aug 24, 2011 7:11pm EDT
 
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The deadline for initial bids in the auction for Hulu was extended from Wednesday until the end of the week to allow interested parties more time to examine the online video site's financial information, according to people familiar with the situation.

Yahoo, Google Inc, DirecTV and Amazon.com were among the parties preparing to submit an offer for the U.S. online company, the people said. Hulu is jointly owned by News Corp, Walt Disney Co, Comcast Corp's NBC and Providence Equity Partners.

South Korean giant SK Telecom is also believed to have entered the fray, according to one of the people close to the sale process, though an official bid from the company could not be confirmed.

Hulu's owners hope to fetch at least $2 billion, according to several people close to the sale process who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity as the negotiations are confidential.

Last year, Hulu planned to raise $200 million to $300 million in an initial public offering that would have valued the company at about $2 billion. But it backed out in favor of a focus on new subscription models.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that offers could come in as low as $500 million.

One of the people described the likelihood of such a "low bid" winning the auction as "ridiculous."

Hulu's financial advisers, Morgan Stanley and Guggenheim Partners, have already met with some potential buyers.

Representatives for all the companies mentioned in this article declined to comment.

(Reporting by Soyoung Kim and Yinka Adegoke; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)