The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Microsoft is one of several companies interested in buying online video giant Hulu. Anonymous sources said that Google and Yahoo! have also met with Hulu reps in meetings arranged by Morgan Stanley and Guggenheim Partners, their financial advisors. The three potential suitors are eyeing the mass of popular shows that millions over viewers tune in to online, and the over 600 advertisers that have jumped on board with Hulu, including big players like McDonald's, Toyota and Johnson & Johnson. Of course, as these things go, none of the alleged parties are admitted anything.
Hulu's ownership has been struggling with the site's popularity, as they have attracted advertising revenue, but at the same time have caught serious flak from cable and satellite providers, who carry the same content. They backed off from an earlier initial public offering that was projected to earn them a cool $2 billion, so it is thought that that may be what it would take for a sale to happen. Netflix, who is seen as a similar kind of service, is valued at just about the same amount.
Microsoft seems like a good fit, as they already offer access to Hulu Plus on XBox Live. The acquisition would make further integration with XBL, and potentially WP7, that much easier and sweeter. Their recent purchase of Skype is a clear sign that they are not afraid to throw around some cash to expand their multimedia capabilities.