Hulu, the online provider of streaming movies and television shows, has received an offer from a potential buyer. The identity of the buyer is unknown, though rumors suggest it is a well-known, very large company. What is known, is that Hulu is considering the offer, debating internally the pros and cons of selling the property.

Hulu For Sale?

Hulu is owned by some television networks–specifically Fox, NBC, and ABC. After launching with a completely free service in 2008, the company rolled out Hulu Plus last year as a premium subscription service. For $7.99 per month, you get unlimited access to Hulu’s content, while non-Plus subscribers now have a more limited selection to choose from.

Some companies have already been ruled out as the secret buyer–including the parent companies of the three Hulu Networks: Disney, NewsCorp, and Comcast/NBC-Universal. So we can cross them off the list of potential suitors.

The general consensus around the rumor mill is that this mystery buyer is a well-known large company. And… if you think about it… they would have to be. Because Hulu has to be worth a ton of money. The news is only a couple hours old, but The Wall Street Journal is already playing the speculation game as to who the potential suitor might be. They suggest that any of the following companies could be the buyer:

  • Yahoo
  • Microsoft
  • Netflix
  • eBay
  • Apple
  • Google
  • Wal-Mart
  • AOL
  • Dish Network

Of course, every tech journalist out there has a mole or two, and several of these companies have been ruled out by “unnamed sources.” So, as you can see, it’s all just a big guessing game… nobody knows for sure–or the ones who do aren’t talking.

Why Sell Hulu?

It’s important to remember that Hulu was approached by the buyer in this case. It’s not like they set out to actively try and sell their property. So maybe they don’t really want to sell. But as the old adage says… everything has its price.

it may not be a matter of “why,” but “why not?” And I’ve always wondered if running and managing Hulu turned out to be more than the three networks bargained for–do they want to make television shows or run a Netflix competitor? Sure, they can do both, as they have been, but it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that some of the players might be willing to step back and let someone else take Hulu’s reins.

What do you think? Who is the mystery buyer? What will they do with Hulu if the sale goes through… will it be the same service we’ve come to know and love, or will it be altered or repurposed in some way?