A new report coming out of Bloomberg
indicates that Apple may be interested in putting in a bid to acquire streaming video giant Hulu
, according to two people who have knowledge of the deal.
According to Bloomberg, “Apple, the world’s second-most valuable company, is in early talks that may lead to an offer for Hulu, said the people, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly.”
Apple currently has $76.2 billion in cash and securities. Acquiring Hulu would hardly put a dent in Apple’s cash reserves and it would give them a new source of video content to offer their customers.
Apple currently sells and rents movies and television programming through iTunes. By acquiring a video streaming service that brings in revenue through advertising, Apple could broaden its offerings and bring in customers who have previously been unwilling to buy content through iTunes. If Apple does purchase Hulu, it would be a real challenge to Netflix
video streaming dominance.
“Hulu would give Apple a new subscription service and represent a possible challenge to Netflix Inc. (NFLX) Hulu’s media- company owners, Walt Disney Co. (DIS), News Corp. (NWSA) and Comcast Corp. (CMCSA)’s NBC Universal, are offering suitors a five-year extension of program rights, including two years of exclusive access, people familiar with the matter said earlier this week.” Steve Jobs is on the board of directors at Disney and is the single largest shareholder with about 7% of the company’s stock.
Hulu’s owners put it up for sale last month when it was learned that there was a potential buyer interested in purchasing the company. There seems to be quite a bit of interest in Hulu at the moment as Google, Yahoo, AT&T and Microsoft have all shown interest in acquiring the company. Microsoft, however, has apparently dropped out of the bidding.
Recently a proposal from Yahoo “would pay up to $2 billion for Hulu with four or five years of exclusive access to current TV shows and older movies.” Apparently, Hulu has rejected this proposal.
Roku recently unveiled the Roku 2
, a dedicated Netflix streamer with approximately 200 channels of content to choose from. If Apple hopes to keep up, then they need to offer more content to Apple TV users quickly. If Apple does bring Hulu into the fold, then this could bring a great deal of programming to the Apple TV. Hopefully, this rumor will eventually come true.