Will Google Buy Hulu?

Google is one of the front-runners in the bidding war for Hulu, with bids expected to be anywhere from $500 million to $2 billion, according to various reports. Amazon and Yahoo are also top candidates to buy Hulu.

Bidding for the purchase of the streaming video site began in June and concludes this week. While it was widely reported that Wednesday was the deadline for first round bids, Variety today reported that Wednesday was a “soft deadline” and more bids are expected this week.

The Battle for Hulu

hulu-logoHulu is far from an unimportant territory.

In addition to having a strong record of revenue and a loyal user-base, Hulu may be sold alongside powerful licensing deals. This makes the site a great addition to any technology company portfolio. That’s why Yahoo made an unsolicited bid for Hulu back in June.

At that time, Hulu – which is owned by NBCUniversal, Fox Entertainment Group, and Disney-ABC Television Group – decided to open the floor to additional bids. It was speculated that Google, Amazon, Apple, and Netflix may be among the most interested parties.

The bids are now due, and while companies haven’t been forthcoming on details for bids, the industry analysts paying attention to the deal have come up with theories on where things are likely to go. First, the bids are likely to span between $500 million and $2 billion, dependent largely on what licensing deals are packaged with the purchase of Hulu itself.

Yahoo has long focused on entertainment and TV features, so its potential gain and incentives for buying Hulu are clear. Additionally, as a leader in display advertising, Yahoo would be tapping into a powerful web property and would be able to provide cross-integrated ad services to both Hulu and Yahoo ad network advertisers. As the first bidder, it’s likely that Yahoo is still in the race.

However, according to a recent Analyst Report by Eric Wold of Merriman Capital, Google and Amazon are the more likely contenders for the final bidding war and purchase. Google would be able to pick up licensing deals that give YouTube some additional positioning while simultaneously fortifying their position as a leader in video content on the web.

Wold states that Amazon’s big gain is found in supplementing its streaming video service and gaining licensing deals that would give it better position against Netflix. Amazon may also be planning to integrate Hulu services with their upcoming tablet project.

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