It looks like the Walt Disney Company might have another powerplay in the future if Comcast gets their way. As CNBC reports that Comcast is considering selling it’s 30% minority stake in the streaming service Hulu, which would potentially give Disney full control of the service if Comcast sells their interests outright.
Disney and Comcast are holding talks about working out a deal for Comcast’s 30% stake, according to people familiar with the matter. Comcast is now weighing the pros and cons of doing a deal now rather than later, said these people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. It’s still unclear if a deal will transpire.
The two companies are the last remaining owners of a company that was originally founded as a joint venture between several media giants. Hulu last week bought back a 9.5% stake in itself from Time-Warner owner AT&T, in a deal that values Hulu at $15 billion. That 9.5% stake will be split between Disney and Comcast unless Disney consolidates the entire company.
But just as Comcast came off the sidelines, 21st Century Fox agreed to sell its 30% stake in Hulu to Disney. That deal, which closed last month, effectively silenced Comcast once again. Instead of being an equal owner with Fox and Disney, Comcast now owns a minority stake to Disney’s 60%.
The deal may or may not even happen but if 9.5% is worth $15 billion it could mean a sale possibly around $45+ billion, which means Disney is just throwing more money around after spending $71.3 billion on the acquisition of 21st Century Fox.
Disney’s Bob Iger has confirmed that their Disney+ streaming service would be on brand being more family-friendly and focusing on that content. This could mean that the Fox library of film and television could head over to Hulu becoming a mature arm of Disney’s family of stream services. It could also open the door for their mature IPs to get streaming series in the near future, not unlike they’ve recently done on Disney+ with the Star Wars and Marvel franchises.