One of the big questions surrounding the future of streaming is what will Disney do with Hulu? Next year there is a deadline for Disney to buy the remaining stake from Comcast or sell the streaming service. After the first earnings call that Bob Iger held since his return as CEO to Disney, he sat down for an interview with CNBC to discuss the call and the future of the company.
In the interview, Iger was asked about his future plans for Hulu. “Everything is on the table right now, so I am not going to speculate whether we are a buyer or a seller of it. But I obviously have suggested that I’m concerned about undifferentiated general entertainment, particularly in the competitive landscape that we are operating in, and we are going to look at it very objectively and expansively.”
In response, the host pressed Iger on if he would be interested if Comcast CEO Brian Roberts showed interest in purchasing Hulu. Iger simply replied, We will be open minded.”
As the conversation progressed, the host stated that the going assumption is that Disney would buy the remaining stake of Hulu from Comcast. “And I think I am suggesting that that is not necessarily the case,” Iger replied.
At this point Disney owns 2/3rds of Hulu and Comcast owns the remaining 1/3rd. The deal between the two companies says that Comcast can require Disney to purchase its stake in January 2024 and Disney can also require Comcast to sell its stake at the same time. The fair market value of Hulu will be assessed next year when the time comes. Disney has stated that it will give Comcast a sale price that represents a minimum total equity value of $27.5 billion.
Upon his return to Disney, Bob Iger stated that he wasn’t looking to make any more big purchases for the company. Throughout his previous tenure as Disney’s CEO, he became known for his acquisitions including that of Pixar, Lucasfilm, Marvel, and most recently Fox. Now, Iger’s primary focus is on cost cutting and bringing in more revenue. This has meant $5.5 billion in cost cutting for the company and 7,000 layoffs. It isn’t known if Hulu fits into that path forward at this time.
What do you think Disney should do with Hulu moving forward? Do you think it should be purchased? Do you think it should be sold? What do you think Disney will do? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!