Google Makes Huge Bid for Hulu Plus Licensing

Some early details on the Hulu bidding war have been released. The top competitors are Yahoo, Amazon, and the Dish Network, but Google has allegedly made an offer for a larger-scale purchase.

Hulu's Goodbye Story So Far

hulu-logoIt's no surprise to see Yahoo among the top bidders. After all, they're the first company who approached Hulu – currently owned by NBCUniversal, Fox Entertainment Group, Disney-ABC, and Providence Equity Partners – about a potential buy. Hulu's owners then opened the bidding floor to all comers, and speculation and rumors started to fly.

While it's not certain that Hulu will sell, the company's owners definitely seem interested in putting the service in other hands. In addition to spinning off the site and subscriptions, Hulu was selling a two-year licensing deal for the exclusive content on the site.

Bidding closed in late August, and according to people familiar with the matter, the bids are in the $1.5 billion to $2 billion range. With one notable exception.

Google's Hulu Bid

Those same sources claim that Google is still in the running, despite Yahoo, Amazon, and Dish being the main competitors. Rather than bidding on what Hulu was selling, Google apparently made an over-arching bid that aimed for extras (most likely further licensing) and put a lot more money on the table.

Enough money that, despite the long-time efforts of Hulu's owners to keep licensing secure and provide a buffer against a YouTube takeover, the executives are considering it. Exact details on the offer amount and what Google's seeking to buy haven't been released.

The move combines the ambition and audacity that's peculiar to Google. Additionally, this continues a trend of big purchases for the company. Google isn't afraid to spend billions on a video site – they bought YouTube for $1.65 billion in 2006. Plus, Google just spent $12.5 billion to buy Motorola last month. Despite continued antitrust investigations, it looks like Google's purchasing trends will only increase under CEO Larry Page's leadership.