Yahoo has reportedly approached Hulu to discuss a possible acquisition of the popular online video service, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
The Los Angeles Times reported that word of Yahoo!’s unsolicited offer was confirmed by a person close to the company, but noted it remained unclear whether the offer had come directly from the Internet firm or another entity.
Hulu, which streams television shows on the Internet, has been the subject of intense speculation about its future.
It has a complex ownership structure, with investors that include News Corp., Walt Disney Co. and NBCUniversal.
Hulu been struggling to find a balance between the desires of consumers to watch shows free online and its owners’ interest in protecting the value of their programming.
Late last year, it launched a paid subscription service to complement its free offerings.
Although there has been interest in the company, it remains unclear whether its owners have any desire to sell. Hulu has not taken any traditional steps associated with a sale such as retaining an investment bank to field offers.
However, it is currently undergoing a restructuring that would give Chief Executive Jason Kilar and his executive team greater autonomy while imposing new rules on the availability of television content.
Spokespersons for Yahoo, Hulu, News Corp. and Comcast declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Hulu can currently only be viewed by Internet users in the United States but plans to eventually expand worldwide.
It is said to have abandoned plans to go public in December.