Hulu Auction: Initial Bids Due by End of Next Week

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The current owners of the online video site are expecting bids of at least $1.5 billion, but the price tag will depend on what bidders look to acquire.

NEW YORK - Suitors of online video site Hulu are expected to submit  initial bids by the end of next week, with its current owners looking for price tags of at least $1.5 billion for the site and its licenses, AllThingsD reported.

Wall Street has generally assumed that Hulu, led by CEO Jason Kilar, will attract around $2 billion in a sale.

However, final price tags will depend on what a buyer is looking to acquire, AllThingsD said. For example, as News Corp. president, COO and deputy chairman Chase Carey signaled earlier this week, some of Hulu’s owners could decide to keep their stakes, which would reduce the price paid by a buyer. But AllThingsD said an acquiror could also pay up to increase the length of exclusive content licenses.

Hulu is a joint venture of Walt Disney, News Corp., Comcast's NBCUniversal and private equity firm Providence Equity Partners. Yahoo, Google, Apple, and DirecTV are among the companies that have looked at a Hulu bid.

Carey told reporters on News Corp.'s earnings conference call that the Hulu sales process is "progressing largely according to plan," adding: "for us, it’s still a decision to see...what it looks like at the end. Does it make sense to pursue that path or does it make sense for us to stay in an ownership position and continue to have it driven by content owners."

Janney Montgomery Scott analyst Tony Wible said in a recent Hollywood Reporter guest column that whoever acquires Hulu, "it will be a much stronger entity and could emerge as a strong competitor to Netflix."