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Microsoft, Google and Yahoo! in Preliminary Talks to Buy Hulu

Google, Microsoft and Yahoo — have been talking with Hulu about a possible acquisition.

Hulu has begun meeting with and is making “presentations” to the potential buyers including Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to drum up interest in a sale, the LA Time said. The presentations to the potential suitors are a first step as Hulu’s owners weigh whether to sell the site after having received an overture from Yahoo.

The Times also said that Hulu has received an “overture from Yahoo.” Microsoft already has a deal with Hulu involving Xbox Live. But the Redmondians are famous for jumping in at the last minute to keep certain purchases out of Google’s hands. So who knows what may/may not happen.

Key to all three potential suitors are Hulu’s licensing deals for popular TV shows such as “Glee,” “Modern Family” and Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” The lure of these top-rated programs quickly vaulted the 3-year-old service to among the top destinations for online video, with some 28 million monthly viewers, according to the measurement firm comScore.

A sale would allow Hulu’s media owners to make a graceful exit from a service whose success nonetheless created friction with traditional business partners. Cable and satellite distributors complained about paying for the right to carry programs that Hulu offered free online. A transaction would also enable owner Providence Equity Partners, which put $100 million in the venture, to see returns from its its investment.

A Hulu spokeswoman declined to comment. A Microsoft spokeswoman could not provide immediate comment. Google and Yahoo could not immediately be reached for comment.

[Via: Los Angeles Times]

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