Disney takes full control of Hulu as Comcast steps aside

Disney takes full control of Hulu as Comcast steps aside

The entertainment giant expects Hulu to have as many as 60 million subscribers by fiscal 2024, up from 25 million a year ago, and is counting on it to complement the new Disney+ streaming service launching in November.

Disney and Comcast will enter a "put/call" agreement regarding NBC's 33% ownership interest in Hulu: As early as January 2024, Comcast can require Disney to buy Comcast's NBCUniversal's interest in Hulu and Disney can require NBCUniversal to sell that interest to Disney for its fair market value at that time.

Disney will assume full operational control of Hulu effective immediately in return for Disney and Comcast entering into a "put/call" agreement regarding NBCUniversal's 33% ownership interest in Hulu. Hulu's fair market value will be assessed at the time of that future sale, but Disney guaranteed a minimum sale price of $27.5 billion.

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Disney is taking full control of Hulu, extending the reach of its streaming abilities. In addition to having plenty of more adult-leaning content, Disney has already expressed an interest in selling "bundles" that give users access to Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ for a discounted rate, so Hulu will live on. It has a newer live-TV service that costs $45 a month.

NBCUniversal, too, will debut a streaming service in 2020.

At the same time, Comcast's NBCUniversal will have the right to cancel most of its content-licensing agreements with Hulu by 2022 - while it will have the right to pull back NBCU programming previously licensed exclusively to Hulu within one year (continuing to make it available to Hulu on a nonexclusive basis). NBCUniversal can cut off its content for Hulu within three years, if no new agreement exists.

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