[opendtv] DirecTV Said to Bid for Hulu as Guggenheim Digital Joins

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: OpenDTV Mail List <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 10 Jul 2013 12:56:02 -0400


DirecTV Said to Bid for Hulu as Guggenheim Digital Joins

By Andy Fixmer & Alex Sherman - Jul 9, 2013 1:49 PM ET
DirecTV made a bid for the online video service Hulu LLC, as did Hollywood 
Reporterowner Guggenheim Digital and its partner, KKR & Co., people with 
knowledge of the situation said.

Time Warner Cable Inc. offered to acquire a stake in Hulu, said the people, who 
sought anonymity because the sale process is private. The suitors join Chernin 
Group, working with AT&T Inc., in meeting a July 5 deadline for binding 
proposals. Terms of the offers weren’t known.

Pay-television systems are vying for Hulu, which offers a lower-cost option 
than the video subscriptions on cable and satellite systems. The website, owned 
by Walt Disney Co., 21st Century Fox Inc. and Comcast Corp. (CMCSA), provides a 
limited free version of its service on computers and offers an $8-a-month 
subscription with access to more programs on more devices.

Time Warner Cable, the second-largest U.S. cable TV service, is seeking to 
become an investor alongside the current owners, offering an alternative to an 
outright sale of the video service, which had more than 4 million paying 
customers as of the first quarter.

Deep Pockets
Hulu’s owners are looking for a buyer that will keep spending on shows for the 
upstart Web-video site. Incumbent pay-TV providers such as Comcast, DirecTV and 
Time Warner Cable are contending with the growing popularity of mobile and 
Web-based viewing, and competition from companies including Netflix Inc.

Meredith Kendall, a spokeswoman for Los Angeles-based Hulu, declined to comment 
as did Robert Mercer, of El Segundo, California-based DirecTV, and Maureen 
Huff, with New York-based Time Warner Cable.

AT&T operates the U-verse pay-TV service and Chernin Group, producer of “Rise 
of the Planet of the Apes” film and TV’s “New Girl,” has invested in startups 
such as Tumblr Inc. and Flipboard Inc. Officials of AT&T and Chernin, which 
would gain an online outlet for programming, declined to comment last week.

Guggenheim Digital and private equity firm KKR had initially bid separately for 
Hulu before joining forces. Guggenheim Digital is an affiliate of Guggenheim 
Partners LLC, the private equity firm running the Hulu auction. In addition to 
the Hollywood Reporter, the digital arm owns Dick Clark Productions.

Thomas S. Mulligan, an outside spokesman for Guggenheim Digital, had no comment.

The Wall Street Journal reported the joint Guggenheim Digital-KKR bid yesterday.

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