Rumor: Yahoo bid $600-$800M for Hulu

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AllthingsD is saying that “sources close to the situation” say that Yahoo is bidding between six hundred and eight hundred million for video streaming powerhouse Hulu.  The actual bid depends on the circumstances of the purchase, such as length of licensing rights (some licences aren’t public) and the amount of control given in those licenses.  So we can take it that a $600M price would mean worse-case licensing scenarios and $800M would mean best case.  AllthingsD also says that Yahoo is considering other $150-$250M range deals in telecommunications.

Many in the industry, like myself, are wondering where Yahoo is getting the jang to pull off these deals.  The company just dropped $1.1 billion (with a B) on Tumblr last week – a deal which many in the blogosphere are saying, and probably rightly so, that will eventually kill the sharing site.

It appears that Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer is hoping to re-invent Yahoo (yet again), this time into a media-based conglomerate.  With photo blogging now in the bag, the company seems interested in jumping into video streaming in a big way after famously losing out on YouTube back in the day.  Although Hulu is no YouTube, it is a step into the video field that goes beyond social, just as YouTube seems to be trying to get into professional streaming and not doing so well at it.

Hulu is a tough nut to crack, though, being owned by a combination of News Corp, Disney and Comcast, all of whom are invested in the site’s streaming efforts with rumored sweetheart licensing rights.  Hulu, however, has been on the block before, going out in 2011 in hopes of a $2B bidder and finding none.

The site is up for sale again, though, this time with less clear programming rights, which explains the wide range of bids entered so far.  Outside of private equity firms interested, Yahoo is also competing with Time Warner, Directv, and Silver Lake Partners.

This will be interesting.

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