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There will be no Hulu for Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO ) , but DISH Network (Nasdaq: DISH ) , Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) , and Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN ) remain in the mix for the popular video-streaming website.
The Wall Street Journal is updating the leaderboard this morning for the companies still in the hunt for Hulu. Google -- which has long been rumored to be offering a lot more money than its rivals but for broader content rights than what Hulu owners are willing to part with -- is apparently back in contention.
Just two weeks ago, BusinessInsider.com was reporting that DISH was leading the pack of non-Google bidders with its offer of $1.9 billion. Amazon and Yahoo! were offering less, but still in the race. Both dot-com giants have the idle cash on their balance sheets to pull off the purchase if DISH were to somehow come up short or feel that it already has its hands full with its Blockbuster acquisition earlier this year.
However, Yahoo! isn't mentioned at all in the latest update. It probably isn't a surprise to see it drop out of the bidding, especially now that Yahoo! itself may be up for sale.
Google's name going back into the mix is interesting. Is the YouTube parent watering down its content demands? Is Hulu simply trying to milk a higher bid out of DISH or Amazon by playing the Big G card? It would seem that even if Google did win the bidding war, antitrust regulators would be very skeptical to let this one squeeze through.
The Hulu sale will happen. The owners want -- and Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA ) needs -- it to happen. All three of the reported bidders would also be better with Hulu than without it.
- DISH Network would be able to beef up its satellite television service and Blockbuster offerings with a strong streaming brand.
- Amazon is already taking advantage of Netflix's (Nasdaq: NFLX ) volatility by beefing up its streaming catalog. Hulu would be the icing on the cake.
- Google's YouTube is the world's top video-streaming site, but Google has struggled in the realm of premium streams. Its fledgling Google TV platform could also use a content-laden push.
So stay tuned. This bidding war appears headed for a photo finish soon.