The Walt Disney Company has announced that it will acquire the remaining 33% stake in Hulu held by Comcast Corp.’s (NASDAQ: CMCSA) NBC Universal (NBCU).
The acquisition of Comcast’s stake in Hulu at fair market value will further Disney’s streaming objectives.
Under the terms of the put/call arrangement, by December 1, Disney expects it will pay NBCU approximately $8.61 billion, representing NBCU’s percentage of the $27.5 billion guaranteed floor value for Hulu that was set when the companies entered into their agreement in 2019 minus the anticipated outstanding capital call contributions payable by NBCU to Disney.
Under the appraisal process agreed to by Disney and Comcast, Hulu’s equity fair value will be assessed as of September 30, 2023, and if the value is ultimately determined to be greater than the guaranteed floor value, Disney will pay NBCU its percentage of the difference between the equity fair value and the guaranteed floor value. While the timing of the appraisal process is uncertain, we anticipate it should be completed during the 2024 calendar year.
According to their 2019 agreement, either NBCU or Disney could initiate the transaction as soon as Nov. 1 – a timetable that was accelerated from the initial date of January 2024 after Disney gained a controlling interest in Hulu as part of its $71 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s film and television assets.
Disney aims to make extensive Hulu content available to bundle subscribers and launch one app in the U.S. that combines the general entertainment content of Hulu with content from Disney’s other brands and franchises for bundle subscribers. Hulu has around 49 million subscribers while Comcast’s Peacock streaming service has around 28 million paid subscribers. Disney+ on the other hand has 146.1 million global subscribers.