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Time Warner Cable eyes Hulu stake

US cable giant Time Warner Cable is reportedly considering taking an equity stake in video-on-demand site Hulu, according to several US reports.

Bloomberg reported that discussions between the firms are at an early stage, and said another, unnamed, pay TV company was also mulling a bid for the VOD site.

It claimed that a deal would make Time Warner a co-owner alongside Disney, News Corp and Comcast, who each own around a third of the business, though Comcast gave up corporate control of the site as part of its NBCUniversal takeover deal.

Separately the Wall Street Journal reported that it was unclear whether Time Warner Cable was looking to take a minority stake in Hulu or launch an all-out deal, but added Hulu’s owners don’t see the cable operator as the most likely buyer. It too said at least one other pay TV operator was weighing an investment in Hulu.

A third report by the New York Post claimed that Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt has held talks with other cable TV providers about making a joint bid for Hulu. Such a move could turn Hulu into an authenticated online service for paying cable customers, the report said, and added that Hulu was keen for bids to be in by the end of next week.

The news follows reports earlier this month claiming that Yahoo! had also held preliminary talks with Hulu, after the VOD business reached out to potential bidders in March.

The digital arm of financial services business Guggenheim Partners, Amazon, and former News Corp president and chief operating officer Peter Chernin are also reported to have shown interest in the VOD site in recent months.