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Apple is the frame to buy US online video service Hulu, according to a report from Bloomberg. The claim from two anonymous sources is that Apple is currently engaged in negotiations described as “early talks that may lead to an offer for Hulu”. Talk of a bidding war for the service has been hotting up since it started shopping around for buyers after deciding not to go public with a $2bn share offering.

The deal to buy Hulu includes five years of programming from the US networks and two years of exclusive rights to shows from Disney (where Steve Jobs is the largest single shareholder), News Corp and NBC Universal. With rumours of an iCloud video service in the works, Hulu could be a perfect fit for Apple which currently has $64bn in cash reserves.

There is a fairly big issue for us Brits though: the Hulu UK launch was scuppered by a deadlock in deal making with UK channels. Let’s hope if Apple does gobble up the site, it’ll also use its klout to bring it here too.

Out TBC | £TBC | Apple (via Bloomberg)

  • Clive Rich

    It’s early days, but if Hulu is to be bought it might be a good way for them to side-step the negotiating problems with UK rights owners which have bedeviled their launch in the UK.

    By selling out to Apple they would pass that problem on to someone else – a giant with great negotiating strength that is used to securing worldwide clearances on good terms, even from major content owners.

    There may be a price for Hulu to pay, though. For Hulu, the absence of such clearances presumably reduces the valuation of the company somewhat, because it reduces the scope of their existing offering. Of course if the deal actually happens, the position changes, because for Apple the ability to procure UK clearance is effectively negotiating “coinage”. It’s easy for Apple to bring to the table, like loose change. Apple then benefits from the increased valuation of Hulu once the clearances have been obtained, so Apple potentially benefits from the UK position both before and after the deal. I believe this is called having your cake and eating it….

Hot chat, right here!

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