Hulu Approached with Buyout Offer

HuluStarted in 2007, online TV and movie service Hulu has found a place in the hearts of many.  In fact, figures in the LA Times Company Town blog estimate that Hulu has 27 million monthly visitors to the site.  The site has numerous owners, the likes of which include News Corp., Walt Disney Co., and Comcast Corp.  It’s probably not a surprise that with major players backing it and a large following, Hulu has been approached with a buyout offer.

According to numerous sources, Hulu has been offered a buyout.  News of this started spreading Tuesday afternoon and was confirmed to Company Town by a person close to the situation.  While it seems to be that names have not been released, LA Times blog, Company Town, mentioned that Yahoo Inc. recently approached the site.  Additionally, CNBC noted that the buyer is not Google.

Interestingly enough, the offer came unsolicited by Hulu.  According to the Company Town blog, it’s not entirely clear that the video service was looking to be bought.  After all, Hulu’s Board of Directors reportedly have not met to consider the offers on the table according to a person close to the board.  Telltale steps foreshadowing a sale hadn’t taken place, though the company is currently undergoing a restructuring under the leadership of CEO Jason Kilar.  This restructuring aims to give Kilar and the executive team increased autonomy and newer rules on the availability of television content.

As Hulu explores its options and looks towards the future, it might look for ways to improve itself and challenge Netflix.  Hulu has been struggling with the balance between the free programming consumers desire and the interests of its owners’.

It is also vying for market share with Netflix, the Internet’s number one video rental service.  During late 2010, Hulu rolled out a paid subscription service alongside its free services.  Additionally, Hulu’s subscription plan allows for viewing over several Internet-connected gaming consoles and mobile devices.  USA Today notes the goals of CEO Jason Kilar, who anticipates Hulu having 1 million paying customers by the end of 2011.  He hopes that the company will generate nearly $500 in revenue, an increase from the $263 million realized in 2010.