Disney will be taking full operational control of Hulu, although Comcast will hold onto its ownership stake until 2024.
Disney became a majority owner of the streaming service — currently a joint venture between Disney and Comcast — earlier this year with the acquisition of Fox. And last month, Hulu announced that it would buy back AT&T’s 9.3% stake for $1.43 billion.
In recent presentations on its streaming plans, Disney has described Hulu as a key part of its strategy, along with ESPN+, India’s Hotstar and the upcoming Disney+. Meanwhile, Comcast-owned NBCUniversal has announced plans for a streaming service of its own.
Under a new agreement, Disney will have full operational control of the company, effective immediately. And starting in January 2024, either Comcast or Disney can initiate a sale of Comcast’s stake, based on its independently assessed fair market value at the time, with a minimum value set at $27.5 billion. If Hulu raises more funding before then, Comcast can either invest more more money or see its 33% stake diluted.
The deal also extends Hulu’s license to stream NBCUniversal content, and to include NBCUniversal channels on its Hulu Live service, until “late” in 2024. In addition, even though NBCUniversal has given Hulu exclusive streaming rights to some of its content, it will be able to bring that content to its own service in exchange for reducing Hulu’s licensing fee.