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Comcast is 'more than likely than not' to sell its one-third stake in Hulu to Disney, says company Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts.
May 16, 2023
The sale of Comcast's one-third stake in Hulu, worth at least $9 billion, increasingly looks like the path forward for the cable operator and parent of NBCUniversal, the company behind the Peacock streaming service.
It's "more likely than not" that Comcast will end up selling its stake in Hulu to The Walt Disney Company, Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said Tuesday at MoffettNathanson's Technology, Media and Telecom Conference.
Figure 1: (Source: Comcast)
Roberts' comments arrive about a week after Disney CEO Bob Iger signaled his interest in acquiring the rest of Hulu and announced plans to launch a unified app featuring Disney+ and Hulu content before the end of the year. Iger called talks with Comcast "constructive" and acknowledged that Hulu's fate is to some extent in the hands of Comcast.
Disney owns 66% of Hulu. Per a put and call agreement formulated in 2019, Comcast can require Disney to acquire NBCU's interest in Hulu as early as 2024. In return, Disney can require Comcast/NBCU to sell that stake to Disney for its fair market value.
'A very valuable position'
"I'm pretty certain if and when we sell our Hulu stake, it will be for more than what we have in it," Roberts said. He also theorized about what a willing buyer in a "robust auction" for Hulu might pay knowing that it would also include the value of having access to Disney and Fox content "forever."
"I think we have a very valuable position," he said.
The guaranteed floor value of Hulu is $27.5 billion, putting Comcast's stake in Hulu at a minimum of $9.2 billion.
Roberts also expressed optimism for Peacock, believing that the premium streaming service, which has about 22 million subscribers, is "well positioned." Peacock's angle into live sports became more pronounced on Monday, when it was announced that Peacock will exclusively stream an NFL wild card playoff game on Saturday, January 13, 2024.
— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading
Senior Editor, Light Reading
Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.
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