As one big deal is finalized, another one is called off. According to reports, Hulu owners have canceled their auction of the online video joint venture claiming that its strategic value outweighs the short-term benefits of a sale.
Walt Disney, News Corp., Comcast and Providence Equity Partners had been shopping the site since June after receiving an unsolicited takeover offer from Yahoo. Bidding on Hulu reportedly reached as high as $2 billion, with tech giants including Google, Dish Network, and Amazon.com all interested in taking over the video streaming service.
One of the main sticking points in the auction process, besides the price, was over Hulu's package of rights to distribute TV programs from Fox, ABC and NBC. Previous reports indicated that potential buyers were pushing for longer or more expansive distribution deals, including two years of exclusive access. But apparently Hulu owners balked at those terms and bidders didn't want to risk paying through the nose for shows when current content deals expire.
Hulu said last month it had more than a million subscribers who pay $8 a month for access to its full catalog of TV shows. CEO Jason Kilar has said Hulu is on its way to pulling in $500 million in revenue over 2011, up from $263 million in 2010, while the service's user base continues to grow with over 27 million visitors a month coming to the site.