Yahoo! may have gotten the ball rolling on the Hulu sales deal by coming at them with an offer, but Hulu leveraged the position by pushing for a number of additional potential buyers. While little is known about the bidding war – beyond the fact that it’s the real deal, with Hulu officially working with investment banks to make the process possible – company names such as Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Amazon, and Apple are being thrown about.
But who gets the most out of the transaction? There are various opinions. Nick Eaton of Seattle PI says that Microsoft has the most to gain. “Controlling Hulu would give Microsoft a high-profile platform for video advertising,” says Eaton. The buy would also give Microsoft a possible competitor for YouTube, an additional resources on the gaming platform front, and a nice little revenue stream to boot. But Microsoft would also be entering tricky territory by trying to provide for competing groups, such as Sony’s PlayStation 3, andnegotiating with the various TV networks.
Yahoo! has a lot to gain on the Hulu front, especially considering the low company revenue and diving company stock values. Since Yahoo! turned down Microsoft’s offer to buy the company for roughly $33 per share, the stock value has dipped as low as about $11 per share. The current value is $14.89. A profitable and recognized stream could be just what Yahoo! needs, and the increasing focus on the entertainment front matches with Yahoo!’s overall game-plan.
Google could buy Hulu, supplementing their user-generated video content with the TV-centric content on Hulu. It woud certainly secure the media front, but with Google already in a strong position, the main purpose would be preventing another company from buying the content. The only big advantage would be that Android systems would have greater access to Hulu data.
There’s not a clear “best choice” candidate, but each group has something to gain. Whoever acquires Hulu will have a valuable asset on their hand, but considering the project $2 billion buyout price, our potential buyers are limited to the giant technology groups.