Market Overview

Two Major Firms Walk Away from Hulu Buyout

At least two firms have lost their bid to acquire the Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) of television.

According to the New York Post, Guggenheim Digital Media and KKR (NYSE: KKR) are no longer in the running to purchase Hulu.

While several companies have been added to the prospective buyer's list this year, this is the first time that any have been eliminated.

Hulu's owners -- Disney (NYSE: DIS), News Corp. (NASDAQ: NWS) and Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) -- are rumored to be selling the streaming video giant for at least $1 billion.

Related: Hulu Sale Inches Closer as DirecTV, AT&T and Others Quietly Bid

With Guggenheim and KKR out of the picture, DirecTV (NYSE: DTV) could become one of the frontrunners for a Hulu acquisition. Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) was once thought to be a frontrunner, particularly after losing its bid (more or less) to acquire a controlling stake in YouTube clone Dailymotion. But analysts are not convinced that it makes any sense for Yahoo to pay $1 billion or more for the company.

If the Dailymotion deal had come to fruition, Yahoo could have purchased that firm for $300 million or less.

Regardless, Yahoo is not one to shy away from massive acquisitions. The firm happily paid $1.1 billion for Tumblr last spring. If it is willing to spend that much to enhance its presence in social media, why wouldn't it do the same for video?

AT&T (NYSE: T) is another possible buyer. The telecommunications giant has reportedly teamed up with Chernin Group to acquire Hulu.

In addition to those firms, Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) has reportedly expressed interest in joining Hulu's current buyers if they choose not to sell. Comcast may not like the idea of sharing the company with a competitor, but it might not have a choice, as it had to give up voting rights when it acquired NBCUniversal (and through that firm, a portion of Hulu) three years ago.

If Hulu is sold and DirecTV wins the bid, Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) could end up becoming a partial owner as well. According to The Wall Street Journal, Dish might explore the possibility of a merger with DirecTV now that it has given up its bid to acquire Sprint (NYSE: S).

Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ

Posted-In: AT&T Chernin Group Comcast DIRECTVNews Rumors M&A Tech Best of Benzinga

 

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