Disney is set to buy Comcast’s stake in Hulu in 2024 – and can happen as soon as January 2024. But Disney’s CEO, Bob Chapek doesn’t want to wait until 2024.
Chapek spoke with CNBC this morning and said that he “would like nothing more than to come up with that solution for an early agreement”. But Chapek also noted that it does take two parties to come up with something that is mutually agreeable. Comcast, has said that it would be interested in buying Hulu, if Disney decided to sell it.
Comcast’s CEO, Brian Roberts said on Wednesday that “Hulu is a phenomenal business…. it has wonderful content and I believe if it was for sale, Comcast would be interested.” Roberts also added that Comcast would be willing to discuss the sale of its stake before the 2024 deadline. But ultimately it’s up to Disney to start the discussion.
Comcast has a 33% stake in Hulu
Comcast, Disney and Fox were owners of Hulu, until Disney purchased Fox in 2019. Which made Disney a majority shareholder of Hulu, with Comcast a minority shareholder. Once Disney buys out Comcast’s stake, it will be able to do better and additional bundles with Hulu, as it will completely own the service.
In 2019, Comcast and Disney came to an agreement that guaranteed a sale of the 33% stake in Hulu by 2024. The two agreed on a floor price of $27.5 billion for Hulu.
Disney buying out Comcast would allow Comcast to focus more on Peacock. Because of its existing agreement, it is unable to put all of its content solely on Peacock. It instead has to put some on Hulu, due to these agreements. Splitting NBCUniversal content between these two services has likely dampened the growth of Peacock. But once it is out of Hulu, NBCUniversal is able to put everything on Peacock. Though Hulu would also lose a substantial amount of content, unless Disney decided to license it from Comcast.