By Sahil Patel
Silver Lake has dropped its bid for Hulu, according to a report from All Things D, citing sources close to the situation. Silver Lake had partnered with Hollywood talent agency WME to explore a purchase of the online video service, which is owned by the trio of 21st Century Fox (formerly News Corp.), Disney, and Comcast (which has no operational oversight due to FCC regulations).
Other Hulu suitors include DirecTV, The Chernin Group (in partnership with AT&T), Guggenheim Digital, and Time Warner Cable (which as far as we know is only interested in purchasing a stake in the company). DirecTV is considered to be the frontrunner, which might not be bad for Hulu if it hopes to play a serious role in original online programming. Yahoo also had an interested in buying Hulu, but has since dropped out of the bidding war.
Today is the deadline for binding bids for Hulu, which means there is no going back. Unless, of course, Hulu’s owners decide to not sell the company, as they have done before.
If Hulu is sold, it appears the price will have to be in the neighborhood of $1 billion.
Silver Lake’s exit might not be final, though. As the All Things D report notes, the private equity firm might partner with one of the bidders that is left depending how things play out in the next, “more serious” round (yes, there will be another round). It’s not exactly clear what this means for WME’s interest in Hulu.
Stay tuned, I guess.