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Hulu bidding war nears climax

The bidding process for US subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) platform Hulu is nearing its conclusion, with Guggenheim Digital Media, Chernin Entertainment/AT&T and DirecTV left in the running.

The Chernin Group and AT&T have reportedly submitted a joint bid for the Los Angeles-based company, meeting the deadline for binding offers on Friday last week, according to Bloomberg sources.

In April, former News Corp chief operating officer Peter Chernin, one of the key architects in the development of Hulu, reportedly made a US$500m bid for the online video service.

If Chernin were to win the bid, Hulu would give his company, which produced Rise of the Planet of the Apes and TV’s New Girl, an online outlet for programming. Chernin also backed start-ups such as Tumblr and Flipboard.

DirecTV would be able to extend its reach into digital from cable by buying the company. Time Warner Cable had also shown interest in buying a stake in Hulu, rather than the business outright, and they could still be in the running.

Over the last few months, several reports have emerged of bids of more than US$1bn for Hulu and Hulu Plus.

Other companies linked to the sale include Yahoo, KKR and Silverlake Partners, in partnership with William Morris Endeavor Entertainment. However, reports in the US suggest these companies have pulled out of the process.

Hulu, currently owned by NBCUniversal parent Comcast, Disney and 21st Century Fox, is being overseen by former VP of content Andy Forssell, who was promoted to CEO at the beginning of this month, taking over from Jason Kilar.

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