The owners of Hulu have decided not to sell the web video site after all.
News Corporation, Providence Equity Partners and The Walt Disney Company, said Thursday they decided to call off a months-long auction process.
"Since Hulu holds a unique and compelling strategic value to each of its owners, we have terminated the sale process and look forward to working together to continue mapping out its path to even greater success," the owners and senior management said in a statement. "Our focus now rests solely on ensuring that our efforts as owners contribute in a meaningful way to the exciting future that lies ahead for Hulu."
The sale process was started when Yahoo expressed interested in buying Hulu. That led an auction.
Bids were reportedly submitted by Google, Amazon and Dish Networks after Yahoo's initial offer.
Some analysts were convinced that selling Hulu wasn't the best strategic move for its network owners. "The networks are at risk of losing control of their own destiny in the digital distribution ecosystem, which over time has the potential to be the dominant distribution ecosystem (versus traditional linear cable)," said David Bank of RBC Capital in a research report Thursday morning. "Is it really worth it to take $100-200 million of after-tax profit (assuming a $2 billion sale price) for each partner at the expense of losing control over your own destiny? We think the networks are unsure of the answer to that, which has delayed a resolution to the Hulu sale. We also think there is a decent likelihood the networks will abandon the sale process for this reason."