It’s been mostly quiet these days over the details of the Hulu auction that presumably has ended. Here’s a little news, though: According to a Business Insider report today, Google was the highest bidder at $4 billion, though that price includes special conditions beyond what Hulu owners Disney, Fox, Comcast and Providence Equity Partners have outlined. In that scenario, it’s Dish Network with the highest bid at about $1.9 billion — less than the $2 billion bid the owners sought. Both topped bids by fellow interested parties Amazon and Yahoo and now are the front-runners to make a deal — if a deal ever gets made. The entire sale process has been an odd one, from the players involved to the Hulu ownership not even in complete agreement what they want (Disney wants to sell, Fox much less so). Meanwhile, among bidders, Dish might be more interested in Hulu’s infrastructure than its content, today’s report suggests, having already acquired Blockbuster’s supply lines and unveiling a movie service last week to rival Netflix, and Yahoo is bidding at the same time its board of directors is not-too-secretly entertaining buyout offers of their own. And last week, CBS Corp boss Les Moonves threw in his two cents about why his company isn’t interested in Hulu at all — “Are they buying two years of programs for $2 billion? I don’t know. I shouldn’t say more; I’ll get in trouble,” he said to investors, arguing that online broadcasters cannibalize TV viewing and syndication. And let’s not forget the biggest cloud hanging over Hulu: those coveted content deals with suppliers that certainly will cost more to renew when those pacts expire over the next year and beyond (see What’s Hulu Worth Without Programming?).
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