Disney announced in a press release (via Vulture's Josef Adalian) that the Walt Disney Company now has full operational control of Hulu, effective immediately. The company has Disney Plus, ESPN Plus, and Hulu under its umbrella.
Disney shares rose as much as 1.7% in NY trading, and Comcast gained as much as 1.9%.
That means NBCUniversal's current 33% stake in Hulu will make its way over to Disney in increments over the course of at least several years.
Disney's takeover of Hulu is just about complete. Netflix now has a market capitalization of $152 billion, 10 times Hulu's most recent valuation.
The other perks of the deal for Comcast NBCUniversal include both the ability to cancel content-licensing deals with Hulu by 2022, but more importantly, any Hulu-exclusive deals can be canceled within one year.
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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.
Last month, Hulu said it had bought back wireless carrier AT&T Inc's stake in the US entertainment streaming service for $1.43 billion, in a deal that valued Hulu at $15 billion. Customers will be able to pay $6.99 per month to see programming from Disney, Marvel, National Geographic, Pixar, and the Star Wars franchise. Shows from FX, which has aired "Sons of Anarchy" and "American Horror Story", will be on Hulu, said FX CEO John Landgraf.
An aftereffect of all these new services may well be the fragmentation of content across services. And last month, AT&T agreed to sell back the 9.5% share it owned via its unit WarnerMedia.
"It's a good hedge in terms of them being able to gauge whether their own service needs its content", Sappington said.
Comcast also agreed to extend the Hulu license of NBC Universal content and the Hulu Live carriage agreement for NBC Universal channels through 2024.
Under their pact, Comcast's NBCUniversal will retain its 33% ownership interest in Hulu but as early as January 2024, Comcast can require Disney to buy NBCU's interest in Hulu.