The Walt Disney Company and Comcast are reportedly in discussions over the purchase of Comcast’s remaining 30% stake in Hulu. This continues Disney’s aggressive foray into the digital streaming market. The news comes from CNBC. While discussions are happening, this does not necessarily mean a deal with happen.
Comcast is weighing when and how the best way to sell its 30% stake in Hulu. This comes after Hulu purchased AT&T’s 9.5% stake in the company last week. Currently, how that portion will be divided up is unknown. If Disney were to end up owning all of Hulu, it would not be an issue. This comes after Disney’s purchase of 21st Century Fox and it’s 30% stake which brought Disney to majority partner status, owning 60% of Hulu. This effectively gives Disney control of the company and leaves Comcast without a major voice.
Comcast’s NBC company provides 17% of the content on Hulu. It isn’t anticipated that this will change anytime soon. NBC CEO Steve Burk had this to say to Variety about the future of NBC and Hulu: “Fifty years from now will we be in Hulu? No, I don’t think we will,” he added, “But I don’t think we’ll sell in five minutes.”
There are pros and cons for this sale of the Hulu stake by Comcast. One is the value of the company and the timing for when the best deal could be made to benefit Comcast. There is also the issue of influence. Comcast can hold out on this and potentially use it as leverage for a future deal with Disney. Or, they could sell earlier and use it for more immediate benefits.
The discussions are currently private so how this plays out could be anybody’s guess. What do you think should happen with Comcast’s 30% stake in Hulu? Share your thoughts in the comments below!