Google is in preliminary talks to buy online video pioneer Hulu, reports the LA Times, quoting people familiar with the situation.
It is understood that Hulu has been meeting with potential buyers including Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to gauge interest in a sale. Hulu’s financial advisors, Morgan Stanley and Guggenheim Partners, set up the meetings with media, technology and communications companies.
But some industry observers have expressed scepticism that Hulu, which is owned by Walt Disney Co., News Corp., Comcast Corp., and Providence Equity Partners, might be sold to Google.
Hulu’s owners, whose TV networks include ABC, Fox and NBC, have so far resisted working with Google and putting content on YouTube. The networks have also blocked TV programming on their websites from being viewable on Google’s Web-TV service, Google TV.
Google acquired video optimisation and multi-platform content protection specialist Widevine in December 2010, and more recently has acquired DVR software specialist SageTV. A successful bid for Hulu would give Google extensive programming rights, should these carry over to any subsequent owner.