Mediatech Capital managing partner Porter Bibb believes Verizon Communications is seriously considering making a bid for Netflix. Rumors swirled around recently suggesting that Verizon may team up with the kiosk movie rental service Redbox in 2012 to create its own streaming service to compete head-to-head with Netflix, although perhaps Verizon Communications is considering a different strategy. “I am hearing rumblings from inside Verizon that they are very serious about either Netflix or something similar,” Bibb told Bloomberg on Tuesday. Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam confirmed earlier this month that the company is looking to enter the steaming-video space in an effort to bolster its FiOS offering. More →
Rumor has it Microsoft is again toying with the idea of purchasing Yahoo. The Redmond, Washington-based company may partner with another unnamed firm in an effort to make a bid, an anonymous Microsoft executive told Reuters on Wednesday. However, Reuters noted that other divisions inside Microsoft are still not sold on making an offer on the troubled search engine. AllThingsD said rumors about Microsoft’s interest are not true and that the company is not currently interested in acquiring Yahoo. Several other companies are said to be interested in purchasing Yahoo, which recently fired its CEO Carol Bartz, including DST Global, Providence Equity Partners, Alibaba, Hellman & Friedman and Silverlake Partners. Microsoft made an offer for Yahoo in 2008 before cutting off all discussions. More →
Bids for the online streaming company Hulu are due on Wednesday but it is still unclear what the company’s future will hold. Bidders will “submit proposals with wide price ranges based on what types of television shows Hulu would license, when those shows would become available on Hulu and how long the agreements would stretch,” The Wall Street Journal said in a report. Most recently, Hulu changed its licensing terms and now offers television shows eight days after they air, which could turn some viewers off from the service entirely. Previously, Hulu allowed viewers to watch their favorite shows for free the day after they aired, a much more attractive option. Hulu Plus subscribers can still watch new episodes the next day. Rumors surfaced in July that Apple was pondering a Hulu purchase and The Wall Street Journal said Amazon, Google, DirecTV and Yahoo are among those who have been named as potential bidders. Industry insiders have suggested company could fetch between $500 million and $2 billion.
Apple is toying with the idea of placing a bid on the Hulu video streaming service, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. In June, Hulu announced that it had hired Morgan Stanley and Guggenheim Partners to assist with a the sale of the company and rumor had it that Yahoo! was interested in making a bid at that time. Should an acquisition happen, Apple might use Hulu to create a subscription screaming video offering in an effort to compete with services such as Netflix. Currently, customers can only purchase or rent videos from iTunes. Amazon is also interested in the company, although Bloomberg reported that it won’t make a move unless it can have guaranteed access to television shows. Hulu, which offers a premium Hulu Plus subscription option for $7.99 per month, said that it expects to surpass 1 million subscribers this August. More →
Nokia CEO Stephen Elop once again addressed rumors of a possible sale of Nokia’s phone business. Rumors emerged on Wednesday suggesting Samsung was preparing to bid on Nokia’s cell phone division, but Elop addressed them on Thursday while speaking to The Wall Street Journal. Elop insisted that the rumors are “completely groundless.” The CEO continued, “Nokia is not for sale.” While Elop has been steady with his message, there is of course wiggle room in his choice of words. Neither the initial report suggesting a deal had been struck with Microsoft nor the subsequent Samsung rumor suggested that Nokia, as a company, was up for sale. Instead, these reports — at least one of which is well-sourced — suggest Nokia may be shopping a portion of its business; specifically, the cell phone division, which has been spiraling downward as Nokia’s market share diminishes rapidly. More →
The business of smartphone production is starting to look more like the a John Grisham legal novel. While handset makers try to out-innovate each other with high-end, spec-heavy handsets consumers will flock to, lawyers are trying to out-flank each other with patent suits and red-tape. No longer can you have an armada of talented engineers and a driven executive team, you also must possess a war chest of hardware and software patents to prevent your company from entering litigation limbo — just Google the words Nokia, Apple, and patent if you don’t know what we’re talking about. More →
The fate of Blockbuster is now up for auction. On Monday Blockbuster’s next owner, and future, will be decided. According to Reuters, it’s possible that a new owner could close the video rental chain, liquidate it entirely, or continue operations in a bid to compete with the likes of Netflix and the growing number of online media streaming services. Reportedly, Dish Network Corp. and Carl Icahn have already placed bids for the company, and SK Telecom is also interested. Monarch Alternative Capital LP opened the bidding at $290 million in February when Blockbuster put itself up for sale, and bids last week needed to be less than $296 million to qualify. It’s unclear how much Dish or Icahn bid on Blockbuster, but Dish Network reportedly has plans to continue building Blockbuster’s online movie offering should it win the auction. After a new owner is decided on Monday, it will have to be approved by bankruptcy judge on April 7th before the deal can move forward. Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in September 2010. More →