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Time Warner Cable, Hulu break off talks: sources

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

By Ronald Grover

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The owners of video streaming site Hulu called off talks with Time Warner Cable Inc over the cable operator's plan to take a 25 percent stake after failing to agree on a price, according to two people with knowledge of the negotiations.

Hulu's owners - Walt Disney Co, 21st Century Fox and NBC owner Comcast Corp - began talks with Time Warner Cable in early July when they failed to attract satisfactory bids in an auction of the service.

The talks may resume, but none are planned for now, according to one source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions were private.

Hulu and Fox declined to comment. Time Warner Cable and Disney did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

The reported end of the latest round of discussions marks another blow for Hulu and its media conglomerate owners, which last shopped the five-year-old video service unsuccessfully in 2011.

This time around, satellite service DirecTV and former News Corp president Peter Chernin, bidding with telecoms carrier AT&T Inc, each unsuccessfully bid more than $1 billion.

On July 12, the owners said they would end the auction and instead commit $750 million in new capital to the venture, which has more than four million paying subscribers for its TV shows as well as a free, ad-supported website.

As part of the auction, Time Warner Cable offered to buy a 25-percent stake in Hulu, according to multiple sources.

Comcast had been restricted from making business decisions on Hulu, as a condition of gaining federal approval to acquire NBC Universal in 2011.

(Editing by Matthew Lewis, G Crosse)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130724/exclusive-time-warner-cable-hulu-break-talks-sources