Disney Takes Over Hulu, Giving It a Second Streaming Service

Comcast sells Hulu to Disney for at least $5.8 billion as streaming wars heat up. Deal may not close till 2024

Disney's chairman and chief executive Robert A. Iger said in a statement that Hulu's portfolio of original content and its library of serials, movies and live TV offerings means the company "represents the best of television".

The Walt Disney Company has secured "full operational control of Hulu after finalizing a deal with the streaming service's other primary shareholder, Comcast". It will have the option to sell its 33% stake to Disney in 2024 for at least $27.5 billion, regardless of Hulu's worth.

According to Tuesday's Disney-Hulu press release, Comcast also agreed to extend the Hulu license of NBCUniversal programming through 2024, but NBCU can terminate most of its content licensing agreements with Hulu in three years. Hulu's value will be assessed by independent experts, Deadline explains, although Comcast will get a minimum of $27.5 billion out of the deal.

After The Walt Disney Company acquired 21st Century Fox assets, it is now welcoming Hulu under its far-reaching umbrella of properties in taking over full operational control. Reportedly, Comcast is preparing an NBC streaming service to launch sometime in 2020 at a price point below $12 per month.

Disney's already unveiled plans to launch their own streaming service, Disney+, which they planned on challenging streaming giants with.

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Last month, Hulu said it had bought back wireless carrier AT&T Inc's stake in the USA entertainment streaming service for $1.43 billion, in a deal that valued Hulu at $15 billion. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said at an investors conference Tuesday that the company, which owns "Friends", will be "bringing a lot of these media rights, licensing rights back to ourselves" for its streaming service.

Now that Disney and Comcast are the only stakeholders (since Hulu recently bought out AT&T), a deal seemed inevitable since the former is on a digital quest for streaming Manifest Destiny.

"The move enables an global launch for the service".

What happens in 2024 will be the real kicker for Hulu (and Disney).

The deal is structured to further NBC's streaming ambitions as well. Disney agreed to limit future equity infusions in Hulu to $1.5 billion a year and said any needs beyond that would be funded by debt.

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