Owners pull plug on Hulu sell
After months of negotiations, Hulu's owners have decided to cancel their attempted sale of the online video website.
Yesterday, the joint owners issued the following statement: "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 ownership comprises Comcast, through its NBCUniversal deal; Walt Disney; News Corp.; and Providence Equity Partners. The statement was attributed to News Corp., Providence Equity Partners, Walt Disney and the Hulu senior management team. Comcast agreed to sit on the sidelines in regard to Hulu as part of its agreement to purchase the majority stake in NBCUniversal.
With so many fingers in the ownership pie, Reuters previously reported that the sale was dogged by conflicts over digital rights, a large gap in the bids and a lack of commitment to sell by some of the stakeholders.
Reuters reported that Google, Amazon, DirecTV and Dish Network were among the most serious suitors. Yahoo was also in on the bidding process, but the firing of CEO Carol Bartz threw its plans into disarray.
NBCUniversal and News Corp. first launched Hulu in 2007, while Disney picked up its share in 2009 , which added ABC content to Hulu's fold.
Providence Equity Partners invested $100 million in Hulu in 2009, and in return was granted two seats on its board.
In an effort to increase revenues over its ad-based model, Hulu kicked off its subscription-based Hulu Plus service  a year ago.
Hulu considered an initial public offering last year, but in the end decided not to pull the trigger.