The deal removes the leading non-broadcaster force at the video streaming company that’s controlled by Disney and News Corp and includes NBCUniversal, according to reports in TechCrunch and Bloomberg. Hulu’s said to have borrowed the cash to repurchase Providence Equity’s shares, which it bought in 2007 for $100M. Its deal gave it the right to sell the holdings back to Hulu for twice what it paid if the video company failed to sell itself or go public. Hulu considered an IPO in 2010, and flirted with a possible sale last year. Providence’s exit will free some Hulu employees, including CEO Jason Kilar, to sell out — and Bloomberg says that “separately” from the Providence deal, Kilar will receive $40M.
The latest news is consistent with the widely held belief that his days at Hulu are numbered. A story in FastCompany this week said that Kilar “now appears to be on the verge of being dispatched by his bosses–after which they may dismantle much of what he’s created at Hulu.” According to a leaked transition plan, the company may double the number of ads on the Fox shows that appear on Hulu, although not Hulu Plus. In addition, the networks are considering letting Google’s YouTube — which has far more viewers — have the same access to their current-season shows that they now provide to Hulu. Disney and News Corp control the board. Although NBCU is also an investor, it lost its seat there last year; Comcast agreed to give it up as a condition to win federal approval to acquire the entertainment company.
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