Six companies submitted to informal bids for
this week, according to sources.
About a dozen companies initially expressed interest.
The informal bids – expression of interest, really – came in between $500 million to $2 billion, with most in the upper end of that range.
Companies among the six include
which expressed interest at an earlier stage
, did not bid.
, one of the six, is "hanging around the hoop."
has "some big ass ideas" for what it can do with
, and CEO
is said to be a part of the process.
One rival bidder told us
has to be considered the favorite to end up with
, if only because it has so much cash to throw around.
is also a serious contender. A source close to
is interested for two reasons. It plans to go beyond
Prime as a vehicle for streaming movies and TV. It also plans to launch a tablet, and imagines that the Hulu brand will help market it.
There's also the relationship between Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his former employee, Hulu CEO Jason Kilar.
is very interested in Hulu. One source close to the company says the board is "not there yet," and might torpedo a deal. Another source says
cofounder and influential board member
is "neutral to positive" on the deal.
was one of the dozen or so companies that initially took a look at Hulu, but it did not move into the latest round of bidding.
in the bidding.
There remains a chance that
will decide not to sell Hulu. (
is also an owner, but it has no vote.)
"These things are hard to come by," says a source, who points out that "traditional media companies" like
are "oh-for-lifetime" when it comes to building successful new media properties like Hulu.
would sell, meanwhile, has less to do with getting a pile of cash up front and more to do with selling Hulu to a company that put resources into making it a long-term viable competitor to
– and thereby drive up online licensing fees.
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