For all intents and purposes, Disney is now the sole owner of Hulu. First, as we know, it acquired 20th Century Fox. Now entertainment behemoth went on to take over NBC Universal’s 33% stake in Hulu via a put/call agreement with Comcast.
The “put/call” deal, which Disney announced yesterday, essentially means Comcast can require Disney to buy NBCUniversal’s interest in Hulu. In turn, Disney can require NBCUniversal to sell that interest. Why? Comcast purchased NBCUniversal in 2011, and the agreement not to touch Hulu expired in 2018.
The buyout can take place any time after January of 2024. That’s right is around the time experts predict Hulu will start turning a real profit. But in the meantime, NBCUniversal’s 33% stake in Hulu will slowly transfer itself over to Disney until they control all but 7% of the streaming service.
Hulu Joins the House of Mouse
You can read Disney’s press release in full below:
The Walt Disney Company and Comcast Corporation announced today that 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. Under the put/call agreement, as early as January 2024, Comcast can require Disney to buy NBCUniversal’s interest in Hulu and Disney can require NBCUniversal to sell that interest to Disney for its fair market value at that future time. Hulu’s fair market value will be assessed by independent experts but Disney has guaranteed a sale price for Comcast that represents a minimum total equity value of Hulu at that time of $27.5 billion.
There are no plans to merge with the upcoming Disney+ streaming service yet. In fact it’s more likely that there will be streaming bundles offered that combine the two with ESPN for a full package. But as for the NBCUniversal content that Hulu currently offers? That will probably be taken off after a few years, and perhaps Comcast will start a streaming service of their own. If it thinks it can compete with Mickey Mouse and Netflix, that is.
How you do feel about Disney’s increasing control? Let us know in the comments below. And check back with That Hashtag Show for all the latest news on your favorite movies and TV shows.