Yahoo Reportedly Bidding Up To $800m For Hulu

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The company looks desperate to get its hands on an established video platform

After agreeing to buy Tumblr for $1.1 billion, Yahoo has reportedly set its eyes on the US online video platform Hulu.

If the rumours are true, the company will be bidding against Time Warner and other interested parties. According to AllThingsD, Yahoo is prepared to spend up to $800 million (£725m) to boost its video capabilities.

Currently, the ownership of Hulu is split almost equally between Comcast, Disney and News Corp.

In April, Yahoo tried to buy the video-sharing website Dailymotion, currently owned by France Telecom, but the deal was blocked by the French government.

Yahoo’s shopping basket

Hulu is a five-year old online television service with around four million users in the US, only accessible abroad through a proxy. It offers ad-supported on-demand streaming of TV shows, movies, webisodes, trailers and clips. The company’s access to prime-time television content is widely seen as more valuable than the online platform itself.

marissamayeryahoosquareYahoo had already talked to Hulu about a possible acquisition in 2011, but no deal was agreed.

According to Reuters, former News Corp president Peter Chernin had approached Hulu with a $500 million bid, plus additional funds to cover some of Hulu’s debt, but the offer was deemed too low.

Other parties bidding for the company include satellite operator DirecTV and private equity firms KKR, Silver Lake and Guggenheim Digital Media.

In 2006, Yahoo tried to buy YouTube and got as close as negotiating price and terms. But when the talks broke down, Google swooped in and quickly closed the deal.

Last week, Yahoo had agreed to buy Tumblr, a blogging site with 100 million users. It was the largest deal yet to be brokered by new CEO Marissa Mayer, who joined the company in July 2012. The site’s founder, 26-year old New Yorker David Karp, will continue to run Tumblr and Mayer has publicly promised not to “screw up” the service.

Yahoo is thought to be looking to expand its mobile and communications portfolio too, with planned acquisitions in the range of $150 million to $200 million.

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