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Disney to Take Full Control of Hulu

Hulu finally will have one owner. Walt Disney and Comcast NBCUniversal said they agreed that Comcast will sell its one-third stake in the streaming service as early as January 2024. Under the terms of the agreement, Disney takes full operational control immediately and has agreed to value Hulu at no less than $27.5 billion. That means it will pay NBC at least $5.8 billion for its stake.

The agreement appears to be good news for all parties. Comcast has agreed to continue to license NBCU’s shows until late 2024.  However, NBCU, which is planning its own ad-supported video-streaming service, has the right to stream the shows it licenses to Hulu in exchange for lower licensing fees.

Last week, Disney CEO Bob Iger implied publicly that Hulu wouldn’t expand internationally until things with Comcast were worked out. Speaking at the MoffettNathanson media conference today, Iger said that its international expansion would come slowly—or at least be more gradual than such expansion by Disney+. He also said Disney plans to move Hulu’s infrastructure onto BAMTech and will integrate its advertising teams.

Ultimately Disney has in Hulu total control over one of the most valuable assets in the streaming era. But it’s one that will take a lot of investment to continue to grow; given how much the company is spending on Disney+, it will be interesting to see what its appetite is for building a worldwide Hulu.

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