INSIDER SCUTTLEBUTT: Here Is What's Actually Going On With Hulu

Hulu CEO Jason KilarHulu CEO Jason Kilar

Photo: rsepulveda

Here’s what the insiders are saying about the Hulu deal.

  • Morgan Stanley and Guggenheim are indeed the bankers.
  • Yahoo media boss Ross Levinsohn is likely interested in Hulu. But it would be very hard to get the deal through Yahoo’s messy board right now.
  • By next week, meetings are likely to start with logical buyers. Logical buyers include key distribution players like Yahoo –  but also even Apple or Netflix – as well as the traditional media companies. Everyone will look because it’s the responsible thing for a corporate development exec to do. That doesn’t mean they’re actually interested in buying.
  • No one actually has the deal book yet. In part, that’s because no one actually hands out deal books any more. These days it’s a meeting and a powerpoint. Anyway: these meetings haven’t been set up yet either. (Though Hulu meets with its partners all the time.)
  • The WSJ and CNBC reports are probably orhestrated leaks by someone inside of Hulu – possibly CEO Jason Kilar, possible one of his people. It’s possible one of Hulu’s parent companies are driving the stories.
  • People don’t think Kilar actually wants to sell, however. This is a valuation process. The whole is effort is something insiders are calling a “hand check.” Look out there and see who is interested and at what valuation.
  • What’s the point? Maybe Hulu is getting ready for an IPO. Maybe Hulu’s joint owners want to use the market to establish a valuation so one of them – News Corp? – can buy out the others.
  • There’s is a lot of scepticism in the market. Hulu is only valuable because it has all the content of its joint venture owners – Disney, News Corp, and Comcast.  People don’t believe Hulu will be able to hang on to all that content at a reasonable rate as soon as its owned by somebody else. Comparisons are being made to @Home, another joint venture where all the parent companies were incented to do one thing and the company itself is incented to do another.

That’s what we know. Here’s what we want to know:

  • What do Hulu’s content licence rights look like regarding a change of control? Do they stay exclusive?
  • How are Hulu’s parent copmanies reacting to talk of a sale? Do they care more about getting return on their equity investment – or are they more interested in long term revenues from content distribution?

We’ve got sources but we’d like more. We’re discreet. Contact [email protected] or 646.376.6014.

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