The Future. Disney and Comcast have moved up their negotiations to hash out a final price for Comcast’s 33% stake in Hulu. The deal has been on the docket since Disney’s 2019 takeover of Fox (which included its Hulu stake), with both parties trying to control the narrative of how much the streamer really costs. But with Disney likely to pay whatever it needs to for the platform to solidify its general entertainment strategy, we can expect Disney+ and Hulu to eventually merge into what would arguably be the first true Netflix competitor.
Let’s get this over with
At yesterday’s Goldman Sachs Communacopia + Technology Conference, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts announced the negotiations for Hulu have been moved from January to September 30th.
- On that date, Disney can “put,” and Comcast can “call” to get the ball rolling (because apparently, high-profile M&A deals play by Vegas rules).
- To determine the final price (which has a minimum value of $27.5 billion per a 2019 deal), each company will have its own appraiser (there’ll also be a third-party appraiser to keep everyone honest).
- Whatever the final price is, Roberts said the proceeds would be returned to shareholders (gotta boost that stock).
While Disney would love to spend as little as possible, Roberts says this “scarce, kingmaker asset” should fetch much higher than the “hypothetical” minimum. He argues the stand-alone streamer has “two to three times” the engagement of every platform but Netflix, and the benefits of reducing churn and increasing synergy for Disney make it worth $30 billion… before accounting for content.
And with Disney’s ongoing battle with Charter Communications driving 60% more signups for Hulu’s “Hulu + Live TV” tier than the Mouse House expected, Disney may have no choice but to acknowledge Hulu’s rich value to the company.