Disney Has Full Operational Control of Hulu Now

Disney Hulu

Bow to your new corporate overlord, because Disney now owns Hulu. After acquiring a majority stake in the streaming giant following the Walt Disney Company‘s historic acquisition of 21st Century Fox, Disney has officially wrested the final 33% stake in Hulu from NBCUniversal through a deal with Comcast. But the deal is more than just a simple sale. Read about the Disney Hulu ownership deal below.

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. Disney and Comcast have entered something called a “put/call” agreement, through which Comcast can require Disney to buy NBCUniversal’s interest in Hulu while Disney can require NBCUniversal to sell that interest to Disney.

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. But once the entire stake is owned by Disney, that will give the House of Mouse an overall 93% controlling stake in the streaming service. It’s a low-risk deal from which Disney greatly benefits.

Read Disney’s press release 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.

Comcast acquired NBCUniversal back in 2011 with a consent decree that it wouldn’t have a say in Hulu’s direction. But that agreement expired in 2018, and Comcast has quickly handed over NBCUniversal’s stake in the streaming service to Disney to presumably alleviate the telecommunication company’s $100 billion in debt. Amazon’s Matthew Ball notes that Comcast gets an $8 billion check out of this deal, though that’s after billions lost in investment in Hulu, which lost $1.5 billion this year and reportedly won’t become profitable until 2024 — that is, according to Disney.

So what does this mean for NBCUniversal’s library of TV shows and movies on the service? It’ll probably stay on Hulu for at least the next few years, but don’t be surprised to see those shows start make their way to a Comcast streaming platform. Meanwhile, Disney continues its quest for worldwide domination. All hail our corporate overlords.

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