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It looks like video JV Hulu can be added to the list of expected IPOs coming this year. The IPO could come this fall, the NYT reports, citing unidentified sources. The offering is said to value Hulu at roughly $2 billion.
Last spring, Hulu released some details about its financial state, saying the News Corp.-NBC (NSDQ: CMCSA) Universal-Disney (NYSE: DIS) venture hit $100 million in revenues in 2009 and that it expected to reach that same amount by the middle of this year. Hulu also claimed net profitability in Q409 and Q1 of this year.
While Hulu’s growth since being formed three years ago appears solid, it does have some challenges. While the site seemed to be a strong number two to YouTube (NSDQ: GOOG), recent comScore (NSDQ: SCOR) changes to its methodology have altered that picture significantly. In the “top entertainment” category, YouTube is safely ensconced at number one with over 144 million uniques, while Hulu is holding on to the number 10 slot with little more than 24 million.
Secondly, there is some degree of doubt about Hulu-Plus, the $9.99 subscription service it began rolling out at the end of June. The issue is whether enough consumers will be willing to pay for an additional service on top of their cable bill, which often includes some DVR functions, and other established subscriptions services like Netflix.
Aside from that, CBS (NYSE: CBS) and CW are continued holdouts to Hulu’s service, while Comedy Central’s participation is limited.
There are also questions about whether this is the right time for an IPO. The NYT described the IPO market as fairly soft and with some other stock sales looming, such as possible offerings from GM and Toys ‘R Us, investors would likely be sated by the time Hulu gets around to issuing.