Remember how a group of bidders was circling around Hulu a couple weeks ago? Whatever happened with that?
Two sources tell us that satellite TV provider Dish was the highest bidder, coming in around $1.9 billion. It beat out both Amazon and Yahoo.
Google bid much more — something in the range of $4 billion. But that bid came with special conditions, as has been previously reported — Google wanted more content for a longer period of time, and perhaps other concessions as well.
rumour has it that Larry Page personally flew down to Los Angeles to make Google’s case.
Hulu’s owners are still deciding what to do. They were hoping for a higher bid, and were disappointed that no company would offer more than $2 billion with the conditions they set.
But the bidders all figured out pretty quickly that the TV companies who own Hulu now want to phase out free ad-supported content completely. So as soon as the current set of Hulu contracts expire in a couple of years, it would be back to the negotiating table.
Dish was probably willing to bid more because, as we previously reported, it was also interested in Hulu’s back-end technology — not just the content.
What happens next is anybody’s guess, but Dish or Google will probably end up with the prize. Unless Hulu’s owners change their minds and reopen the bidding with a more lenient set of conditions. Or decide not to sell at all.