The two companies have begun discussions to resolve uncertainty over their jointly controlled online video site, reports WSJ. Each, which own about a third of Hulu, have indicated at different times over the past few months their willingness to buy the other out. There is also the possibility both companies will decide to sell to an outsider, the story said.
Most of the other third of Hulu is owned by Comcast, majority owner of NBC, but regulatory requirements prevent it from voting its stake.
Discussions are fluid, one of the people said. Hulu’s partners put the site on the market in 2011 and decided later not to sell. One of the people cautioned that the companies could decide again to hold onto their interests in Hulu.
For some time, Disney and News Corp. have been at loggerheads over the direction they want Hulu to go. As previously reported, News Corp. wants Hulu to focus on its subscription service whereas Disney/ABC prefers the free ad-supported business model. Hulu has both a subscription business, Hulu Plus, which has more than three million subscribers, and a free service. Adding to the uncertainty, Hulu’s CEO Jason Kilar, recently indicated his intention to leave by the end of the first quarter.