Hulu sale is off

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Now we finally know who will buy Hulu: no one. The company announced on its blog Thursday afternoon that the sale process has been terminated. The announcement came with the following joint statement from Hulu’s owners and management:

“Since Hulu holds a unique and compelling strategic value to each of its owners, we have terminated the sale process and look forward to working together to continue mapping out its path to even greater success. Our focus now rests solely on ensuring that our efforts as owners contribute in a meaningful way to the exciting future that lies ahead for Hulu.”

Negotiations about a possible sale had been going on for weeks, and bidders initially included Amazon, Yahoo, Google, Dish and others. Yahoo seemed for a while like a likely candidate, but its bid was derailed by internal problems. Google apparently outbid everyone, but was asking for more content rights concessions that Hulu’s owners were willing to give up. Dish seemed most determined, but may have offered too little money.

Then again, Hulu may have been just too tough of a sale, as Ryan Lawler recently predicted:

“Hulu’s forecast of $500 million in revenues might look attractive, but there’s no guarantee that it will be able to hold the attention of viewers or continue to execute without favorable content deals and effective leadership. That is, anyone who buys Hulu right now might not actually get what they have bargained for.”

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