Hulu Takes Itself Off the Auction Block
Hulu Takes Itself Off the Auction Block

Apple is considering making an offer for the online video service Hulu, Bloomberg reported Thursday, citing sources.

The company is said to be in early talks to buy the site, which is owned by Walt Disney, News Corp., Comcast's NBCUniversal and private equity firm Providence Equity Partners.

The sale price could surpass $2 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and SNL Kagan.

Such a large purchase would be unusual for Apple, Wedbush Securities analyst Scott Sutherland told Bloomberg. The company's biggest acquisition was the $400 million buy for NeXT Software in 1996; that deal also saw Steve Jobs return to the company fold.

Buying the site would give Apple a new subscription service in addition to iTunes as welll as a competitor to Netflix, which is said not to be in the running to make a bid for Hulu.

"Hulu would add a new element to their arsenal from a streaming and subscription standpoint," Brian Marshall, an analyst at Gleacher & Co., told Bloomberg.

Among the initial suitors for Hulu were Amazon.com, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and satellite TV giant DirecTV, according to previous reports.

The owners are reportedly offering suitors five years of guaranteed access to their TV shows, including two years of exclusive access. Such programming terms would allow a new owner to have content locked up for a while.

Reps for Hulu and Apple declined to comment to Bloomberg.