Hulu Prepares IPO Amid Battle With Netflix

Popular U.S. Web video service Hulu is prepared to raise as much as $300 million in an initial public offering likely to be led by Morgan Stanley, according to sources familiar with the matter.  Hulu is ready to raise $200 million to $300 million in a deal valuing the company at about $2 billion, and could file a prospectus with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission before the end of the year, one source said.  A decision could come by November, the source said, adding that the offering is contingent on the renewal of rights to carry shows, some of which expire in a year.  The online video service, backed by General Electric Co's (GE.N) NBC Universal, Walt Disney Co (DIS.N), News Corp (NWSA.O) and private equity firm Providence Equity Partners, was launched three years ago as an ambitious attempt to harness the explosive growth in online video viewing.  The worldwide online video market is expected to hit $16.1 billion through paid and ad-supported services by 2012, according to ABI Research, which tracks media trends.  Hulu is now the second-largest Web video service behind Google's YouTube in the United States.

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