Disney strikes deal with Comcast, takes full control of Hulu

Disney strikes deal with Comcast, takes full control of Hulu

Bow to your new corporate overlord, because Disney now owns Hulu.

Disney, though, wants full control of Hulu, and today's deal sets out exactly how it'll achieve that. At that future time, Disney can require NBCUniversal to sell its interest in Hulu for fair market value.

Walt Disney Co. and Comcast Corp. also agreed to fund Hulu's recent purchase of AT&T Inc.'s 9.5% interest in Hulu.

The move is the latest in a dizzying series of ownership changes for Hulu, after the streaming service started 2019 owned by four companies.

Last month, Hulu said it had bought back telecommunications and media company AT&T Inc's stake in the USA entertainment streaming service for $1.43 billion, in a deal that valued Hulu at $15 billion. But the real kicker comes in 2022, when NBCUniversal has the right to cancel most of its content-licensing agreements with Hulu, which means shows like Parks and Recreation could be departing to head to NBCUniversal's own streaming service. It's a low-risk deal from which Disney greatly benefits. But when Disney acquired Fox, they doubled their total share, and when it became clear that they wanted full ownership over the streaming service, AT&T sold its 10% stake back to Hulu, leaving Comcast as the final holdout. Many of those are licensed to Hulu from NBCUniversal.

Last month, Hulu said it had bought back wireless carrier AT&T Inc's stake in the US entertainment streaming service for $1.43 billion, in a deal that valued Hulu at $15 billion. Amazon's Matthew Ball notes that Comcast gets an $8 billion check out of this deal, though that's after billions lost in investment in Hulu, which lost $1.5 billion this year and reportedly won't become profitable until 2024 - that is, according to Disney. It has a newer live-TV service that costs $45 a month. It'll probably stay on Hulu for at least the next few years, but don't be surprised to see those shows start make their way to a Comcast streaming platform.

The Disney takeover continues.

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