Guess what? Netflix won’t buy Hulu

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The first round of talks around the possible sale of Hulu has concluded, according to the Wall Street Journal. The paper said that the Hulu team gave initial presentations to most prospective buyers last week, and now it is up to the suitors to do some due diligence.

However, it looks like Netflix’s lawyers won’t be required to put in any extra hours to go through Hulu’s numbers: The Journal reports that Netflix isn’t among the companies that have expressed interest in buying the site.

Of course, this is consistent with what Netflix executives have been saying all along. They’re interested in building an HBO-like subscription empire that serves its content on the web, not in selling ads against TV show reruns.

Still, some have long argued that Hulu and Netflix should join forces. Farhad Manjoo wrote last year in Fast Company that the two services would make the perfect couple:

In addition to the traditional DVD plan, subscribers would get an expanded streaming catalog of current TV shows — something Netflix has been able to do only in limited doses . . . The new firm could still keep Hulu’s free, ad-supported component; it would be a great source of extra revenue for Netflix, and would let the company introduce its brand to new customers.

Netflix apparently decided to find new customers elsewhere: Just last week the company announced that it was going to expand to 43 countries throughout the Americas before the end of this year. Hulu, on the other hand, has thus far been unable to start its international expansion.

Maybe this will change once the site has a new owner. Prospective buyers include Amazon, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Verizon and DirecTV.

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