Disney Assumes Full Control of Hulu in Deal With Comcast

Comcast sells Hulu to Disney for at least $5.8 billion as streaming wars heat up. Deal may not close till 2024

Comcast sells Hulu to Disney for at least $5.8 billion as streaming wars heat up. Deal may not close till 2024

Bow to your new corporate overlord, because Disney now owns Hulu.

Disney, which is trying to challenge the dominance of Netflix in a competitive streaming landscape, is preparing to launch its own streaming service called Disney+ on November 12 and the control of Hulu would add weight to the company's goals. 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.

This deal came into play when Disney's original 30% ownership stake was doubled to 60% with the acquisition of 21st Century Fox - which itself owned 30%.

Disney said Tuesday it has struck a deal with cable provider Comcast that gives the entertainment company control of streaming service Hulu. Within five years, Comcast has agreed to sell its Hulu stake to Disney for at least $9.2 billion. The companies said that when the sale of NBCU's stake occurs in 2024, Hulu's fair-market value will be "assessed by independent experts".

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Disney is preparing to launch its own streaming service called Disney+ on November 12.

The Hulu deal also comes as Disney is embarking on an ambitious streaming initiative. Under the agreement, Comcast can require Disney to buy NBCUniversal's remaining interests in Hulu as early as January 2024. Disney has guaranteed to pay Comcast a price representing a minimum total equity value of $27.5 billion. Many of those are licensed to Hulu from NBCUniversal.

So what does this mean for NBCUniversal's library of TV shows and movies on the service? Meanwhile, Disney continues its quest for worldwide domination.

Though Comcast won't be pulling its content off Hulu soon, in one year it has the right to begin streaming some of its own content on NBC's own free streaming service, even if right now that content is supposed to be exclusive to Hulu. All hail our corporate overlords.

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