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Exclusive: Former News Corp President Chernin bids $500 million for Hulu

Peter Chernin, Founder, Chernin Entertainment, Inc., poses at the BAFTA Brits to Watch event in Los Angeles, California July 9, 2011. REUTER
Peter Chernin, Founder, Chernin Entertainment, Inc., poses at the BAFTA Brits to Watch event in Los Angeles, California July 9, 2011. REUTER

By Ronald Grover and Jennifer Saba

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former News Corp president Peter Chernin has bid around $500 million for Hulu, the online video streaming service he helped create in 2007, according to two sources with knowledge of Hulu's sale process.

The website, jointly controlled by News Corp and Walt Disney Co, reached out to potential buyers in March after initially contemplating a deal in which one would buy out the other. It is not clear whether that transaction is still being contemplated.

Chernin, a former Hulu board member who now runs a media holding company, is among those interested, the sources said on condition of anonymity because the bidding is not public. It is not known if other bidders have come forward.

Chernin left News Corp in 2009 to assemble The Chernin Group, whose holdings span film and TV production and owns stakes in high-tech companies, including online radio service Pandora Media Inc.

Providence Equity Partners invested $200 million in The Chernin Group in April 2012. The private equity firm sold its 10 percent stake in Hulu in October for $200 million, valuing the streaming service at $2 billion.

Charles Sipkins, Chernin's spokesman, would not comment. Hulu spokeswoman Elisa Schreiber and News Corp's Dan Berger also had no comment. Disney declined to comment.

Hulu's owners have for years pondered the direction of a service that now has more than 3 million subscribers for its premium offering and generated revenue of about $700 million last year.

A third owner, NBC parent Comcast Corp, gave up corporate control as a condition of buying NBC Universal.

The owners have shopped Hulu before, rejecting bids in 2011. The company also considered an initial public offering in 2010.

(Editing by Edwin Chan and Andre Grenon)

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