Apple to bid for Hulu?


People walk by an Apple retail store on Jan. 18, 2011 in San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/GETTY IMAGES)

Hulu, the online streaming video site, is up for sale, and Yahoo and Google have been named as potential buyers. Now, a report from Bloomberg has one more tech giant reportedly entering the mix — Apple.

Citing an unnamed “person with knowledge of the auction,” the report said that Apple is in very early talks to buy Hulu, though it’s not at all clear if Apple will make a bid. Hulu is currently a joint-venture from Disney, NBCUniversal and News Corp., which are said to be offering potential buyers two years of exclusive rights to Hulu content and a five-year extension of program rights.

A large-scale acquisition such as this would be out of character for Apple, though the company can certainly afford Hulu’s rumored $2 billion price tag, having reported a blockbuster third quarter with $7.3 billion in profit.

In fact, The Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Grocer pointed out that Apple could buy Hulu with just 3 percent of its considerable cash reserves. That reserve of short-term securities, long-term securities and cash grew $10 billion in the past 90 days alone, The Journal reported.

Microsoft, another company named as a possible buyer, reportedly ended its talks with Hulu earlier this week.

Apple declined to comment on the report; spokesman Tom Neumayr said that the company does not comment on rumor or speculation.

Related stories:

Apple posts another record-breaking quarter

Report: Google in early talks for Hulu

Netflix, Blockbuster, Redbox: Weighing your options

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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