Hulu Off the Market, Will Get $750 Million Cash Infusion

Worried brands can breathe a sigh of relief

Brands and agencies fearful that Hulu might be mismanaged by a new owner can breathe easier, as the video site is no longer for sale. Joint owners 21st Century Fox, NBCUniversal and The Walt Disney Company today announced that they are keeping the property and pumping $750 million into it.

Hulu aggregates online television programming via more than 400 content partners, while attracting some 30 million monthly unique visitors. It’s a lucrative property—the service in 2012 took in $690 million in revenue from advertisers and paid subscribers—and one that brands are keen on compared to other digital ad formats.

Rumored bidders have included Yahoo, DirecTV, Time Warner Cable, the Chernin Group/AT&T and Adweek parent Guggenhein Digital, among others.

“We had meaningful conversations with a number of potential partners and buyers, each with impressive plans and offers to match, but with 21st Century Fox and Disney fully aligned in our collective vision and goals for the business, we decided to continue to empower the Hulu team, in this fashion, to continue the incredible momentum they’ve built over the last few years,” said Chase Carey, 21st Century Fox president and COO, by way of announcing the decision.

Disney CEO Bob Iger added, “Hulu has emerged as one of the most consumer-friendly, technologically innovative viewing platforms in the digital era. As its evolution continues, Disney and its partners are committing resources to enable Hulu to achieve its maximum potential.”

Though it retains a 32 percent stake in Hulu, NBCU remained on the sidelines during the bidding process. As part of an agreement reached in 2011 between Comcast and the Federal Communications Commission, NBCU is prohibited from exercising any influence over Hulu’s day-to-day operations

This is not the first time Hulu’s owners have kicked the tires on selling the company. Despite serious bids from the likes of Google, DirecTV and Amazon in 2011, the service was taken off the market after negotiations were derailed by knotty digital-rights issues.

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