Hulu’s media owners expected to take over 10% stake

Providence Equity Partners is expected to sell its 10 percent stake in Hulu for about US$200 million. Potential buyers are media giants Disney, News Corp. and Comcast Corp., Bloomberg reported.


The $200 million sale gives Hulu a $2 billion valuation, Mashable noted last week.


The second largest online video website behind YouTube, Hulu launched five years ago, offering users TV shows and episodes from networks like NBC Universal and Fox, among others.

Hulu’s ownership structure will drastically change due to Providence Equity Partners’ sale. Currently, Disney, News Corp. and NBC Universal each owns a 27 percent and employees own 10 percent. Providence Equity Partners bought its 10 percent for $100 million in 2007, helping News Corp. and NBC Universal launch the site.


NBC Universal’s owner, Comcast, which relinquished its Hulu board seat and oversight as part of federal approval of its acquisition by the cable company, gave up the right to hold more stakes in Hulu, the Los Angeles Times explained.


Hulu’s business strategy will be more consistent without Providence, the Wall Street Journal noted in an analysis. Providence has had a goal of expanding Hulu, which has conflicted with media companies trying to safeguard their traditional TV businesses, the WSJ explained. For example, Hulu recently irritated media company executives by producing original programmes for the show, “Battleground,” decreasing media companies’ profits for selling traditional TV content.


David Bank, an analyst at RBC Capital Market in New York, told Bloomberg that Providence’s selling would be the “optimal outcome,” because “the real value of Hulu will be discovered on a longer time frame than what’s likely optimal for Providence.”


Hulu spokeswoman Elisa Schreiber declined to verify the selling, as did Andrew Cole, an outside spokesman for Providence, according to Bloomberg.


The WSJ, meanwhile, noted that Providence hasn’t even determined if it wants to sell.


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