Disney To Control Hulu, Buys Out Comcast Stake

Looking to boost efforts among advertising and producers, Walt Disney has a deal to buy out the remaining 33% piece of the Hulu streaming video platform from Comcast Corp -- giving Disney full control of the big streaming video platform.

This comes on the same day as Disney’s upfront programming presentation for its brands, including ABC, ESPN and new brands acquired from Fox: FX Networks and Nat Geo.

According to CNBC, the agreement means Comcast could sell its remaining stake at a valuation of $27.5 billion in 2024 -- or whatever Hulu is appraised at in five years. Comcast’s NBC networks will continue to be part of Hulu -- either with its on-demand services or with Live TV, its package of live, linear TV networks -- for at least three years.

Disney gets full operational control right away. It gives Disney three digital video platforms moving forward, including ESPN+, the forthcoming Disney+ and full control of Hulu.



Hulu has a collective 28 million subscribers from all its digital TV video services -- its on-demand, ad-free and ad-supported services, as well as Hulu with Live TV, digital pay TV package of live networks.

MoffettNathanson Research estimates that Hulu with Live TV has been the fastest-growing vMVPD platform -- a virtual multichannel video program distributor -- rising more than 400,000 subscribers in the first quarter.

MoffettNathanson estimates the entire category grew by 563,000 in the period.

Other sources say Hulu with Live TV has nearly 2 million total subscribers.

Recently, AT&T WarnerMedia sold its 10% stake in Hulu back to the company for $1.43 billion. That estimates the value of the entire Hulu operation currently at $15 million. Before that, Disney acquired a 30% stake via its overall purchase of half of 21st Century Fox TV/film businesses.

Prior to the recent transactions, Disney, Comcast and Fox each owned a 30% stake in the company, while WarnerMedia owns 10%.

In early morning Tuesday trading, Walt Disney’s stock was up 1% to $132.58, with Comcast 1.5% higher to $42.93.

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