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Bidders line up to buy online TV service Hulu

Yahoo!, DirecTV and Time Warner Cable are joining several private equity firms to make bids to buy Hulu.

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NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 30: Seth Meyers attends the Hulu NY Upfront on April 30, 2013 in New York City. Hulu is reportedly considering offers from seven bidders including Yahoo!, DirecTV and several private equity firms in a private auction. (BRAD BARKET/AFP/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES — Online video site Hulu is for sale again and a top shelf collection of bidders are making a play to buy it from The Walt Disney Co. and News Corp.

Yahoo!, DirecTV and Time Warner Cable are among seven bidders who will be vying for the online site.

The auction is private, which makes details difficult to come by, but sources told Bloomberg that Yahoo! made a bid for an undisclosed amount on Thursday.

Private equity firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.; Guggenheim Partners; and Silver Lake, in partnership with talent agency William Morris Endeavor, have also made bids.

According to the Associated Press, multiple reports have put a bid led by former News Corp. executive Peter Chernin at $500 million.

Hulu was founded in 2007 as a way for broadcasters to offer their content streaming online.

The Los Angeles-based company is about one-third owned by each Comcast’s NBC Universal, Disney and News Corp., although Comcast gave up its voting stake in the company in 2011.

Hulu offers viewers a chance to watch recent episodes, with ads, of major broadcast network shows including "Saturday Night Live", "The New Girl", "Modern Family," and "The Mindy Project".

A paid subscription service for $7.99 a month allows access to a wider selection of TV shows and movies and allows viewing on mobile devices and Internet-connected TVs.

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The Internet TV model is appealing to potential buyers even though, according to AP, both Disney and News Corp. have said Hulu is losing money.

"Video is migrating to the Internet," Brett Harriss, a Gabelli & Co. analyst told Bloomberg. "Hulu is a great platform to use as a base to build an Internet video business."

Hulu's owners first considered putting the company up for sale in 2011 but halted the auction process.

A person familiar with the current auction told AP that the seven bidders would be narrowed down in the coming weeks.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business/130525/bidders-line-buy-online-tv-service-hulu