Walt Disney has struck a deal with Comcast to take full control of Hulu, the video streaming service that rivals Netflix in the US. Comcast will sell its 33 per cent stake in Hulu to Disney as early as January 2024 at a minimum valuation for the streaming service of $27.5 billion. The put/call deal will allow Disney to take operational control of Hulu immediately, while giving Comcast the chance to maximise its investment in a company it believes will continue to grow… Comcast had been wrestling over whether to retain a minority stake or sell its entire holding… Hulu was conceived in 2006 as a joint venture among traditional media companies NBCUniversal and News Corp, which were looking to get into the online video business. It has grown into a formidable rival to Netflix and Amazon, luring subscribers with hits such as The Handmaid’s Tale and licensing rights to favourites including Seinfeld. The deal comes as Disney pushes into streaming with its own services due to launch this year… For Comcast, the agreement is a way to bet on Hulu’s continuing growth… While Netflix dominates video streaming with 149 million subscribers worldwide, Hulu has been growing quickly, adding 3.8 million subscribers in the first four months of this year.
Anna Nicolaou, James Fontanella-Khan and Eric Platt