Chernin, Guggenheim Digital put in bids for Hulu -sources

LOS ANGELES Thu May 23, 2013 6:34pm EDT

LOS ANGELES May 23 (Reuters) - Former News Corp president Peter Chernin and private equity fund Guggenheim Digital Media have placed bids for Hulu, two people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters, triggering a tug-of-war for the online video service.

Hulu was put on the auction block this year for the second time after disagreement between owners News Corp and Walt Disney Co on how best to operate a Web service that streams TV programs and other videos, Reuters previously reported.

Time Warner Cable Inc and satellite operator DirecTV have also considered making an offer, but it was unclear if they have submitted formal bids, the two people said on condition of anonymity because the process was private.

In April, Chernin placed a bid for $500 million, plus an unspecified additional sum to cover Hulu's debt and programming commitments.

A Guggenheim spokesman had no comment. Representatives for Chernin, Time Warner Cable and DirecTV could not be reached for comment.

Hulu says on its website that it has more than 3 million subscribers paying $7.99 a month for its premium service and that it generated revenues of around $700 million last year. It sells advertising for its free service.

It is being advised in the sale by Guggenheim Partners, a separately funded group from the digital media unit that placed the bid.

The Los Angeles Times initially reported the bids On Thursday.

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