Yahoo on spending spree with $800 million Hulu bid

Fresh off of buying Tumblr, Yahoo is looking to keep its shopping spree alive with a purchase of the video-streaming service Hulu.

There's no guarantee that Yahoo will actually be able to nab Hulu, especially considering there are multiple suitors in the equation, but the company has reportedly placed down a bid between $600 and $800 million.

The news comes courtesy of AllThingsD, which cites "numerous sources close to the situation." If it seems like a $200 million gap between bids is quite large, there's a reason for that: Instead of simply offering one bid, Yahoo has pitched a series of proposals, and the price varies depending on the details of the agreement.

In addition to Yahoo, however, there are six other groups interested in acquiring Hulu: Time Warner Cable, DirectTV, the Chernin Group, and the private equity firms of KKR, Guggenheim Digital, and Silver Lake Partners. So far, we only know that Chernin's Hulu offer was in the range of $500 million, but the AllThingsD report states that the owners are not likely to entertain offers that fall under $1 billion.

All things considered, that means there's still plenty of time for numbers to go up. Will Yahoo fork over another cool billion for Hulu as it did for Tumblr? That remains to be seen, especially since the report indicates that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is spending her energy these days trying to successfully integrate Tumblr into the family.

The question remains: Why buy Hulu? Many sites have mentioned that Yahoo is probably looking to increase its presence in the growing video field, and purchasing Hulu would go a long way towards making the company's presence in the market more formidable. Yahoo would instantly become one of the larger video forces, but the acquisition would also have the added effect of adding another revenue stream.

As Dan Farber wrote at CNET, "Hulu's 4 million subscribers, which doubled in the last year, would bring a Yahoo as growing recurring revenue stream and credit card accounts with subscribers who could be enticed to pay for other Yahoo services."

Hulu certainly has become a bigger operation over the last couple of years, but even if Yahoo ends up buying the service, chances are it won't be finished shopping. According to the AllThingsD article, Yahoo is also looking to buy a mobile company as well as a communications outfit. It's willing to spend another $150 million to $200 million on each. 

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