(Updated to reflect comment from AT&T and Hulu)
Hulu seriously is the hot property right now, with at least three of the biggest media companies out there in the running to snatch it up.
The latest to get into the fray is AT&T, which is now in discussions with the Chernin Group to make a joint bid to buy the video site, AllThingsD reported Wednesday.
The Chernin Group was founded by Peter Chernin, who formerly worked at News Corp. from 1996 to 2009, serving as President and COO. The Chernin Group has produced movies such as Rise of the Planet of the Apes, as well as television shows, such as New Girl and Touch, both of which air on Fox. Cherin is on the board of director for Pandora music service, and also instrumental in the formation of the Hulu premium online service.
Hulu is currently owned by News Corp., Disney and Comcast, and sources told AllThingsD that they had actually expected to see more joint efforts in the bids to buy the company.
While Chernin would seem to have some edge, given his role in the formation of Hulu and his inside knowledge of the operations of the company, AT&T and the Chernin Group will have some pretty major competition if they want to eventually land the sale.
Among their competition will be Guggenheim Partners, which is led by former Yahoo interim CEO Ross Levinsohn, and Amazon, which are both said to be in the mix. Time Warner is also reportedly considering taking an equity stake in the online-video site. But the real competition will come in the form of Yahoo.
Since then, Yahoo has been one of the few potential bidders to have a concrete number in mind: it was reported that the company will be bidding between $600 and $800 million for Hulu. Ian Weingarten, VP of corporate development at Yahoo, is said to be heading the pontential deal.
According to Wednesday's report, the Chernin Group also made a bid of only $500 million, but that is said to be a lowball bid that will go up as the bidding takes off.
This is not the first time that the owners of Hulu have put the company on the market.
It had previously put itself up for sale in June 2011, after clashes between the owners and management over how to run the site. In October, though, the sale was called off and the owners vowed to focus on growing the service instead.
Now that is such a hot property, it looks like Hulu has a good chance to really be sold this time around, though any potential deal could fall through if bidding does not reach the $1 billion range.
Spokespeople for AT&T and for Hulu would not comment on the story.
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