Updated March 30 at 6:25pm

Providence Equity to sell stake in Hulu


NEW YORK - Hulu.com owners Walt Disney Co., Comcast Corp. and News Corp. are close to buying out Providence Equity Partners Inc.’s stake at a price valuing the company at about $2 billion, said two people with knowledge of the matter.

Providence is selling its 10 percent share in Los Angeles-based Hulu for about $200 million after investing $100 million when the venture began in 2007, according to the people, who weren’t authorized to talk publicly.

“This would be the optimal outcome,” David Bank, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in New York, said in an interview. “The real value of Hulu will be discovered on a longer time frame than what’s likely optimal for Providence.”

The companies will let employees of Hulu, including Chief Executive Officer Jason Kilar, sell shares of the closely held online TV service, the people said.

This month, Hulu said its $8-a-month Hulu Plus service, which lets users view an expanded library of shows on game consoles and mobile devices, had more than 2 million subscribers.

Comcast Corp.’s NBC Universal, which relinquished its Hulu board seat and oversight as part of federal approval of its acquisition by the cable company, hasn’t been involved in the talks, they said. That complicates its role in the purchase.

Elisa Schreiber, a Hulu spokeswoman, declined to comment, as did Andrew Cole, an outside spokesman for the Providence-based private equity group.

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