Disney buys Comcast’s stake in Hulu. The entertainment giant announced Wednesday that it “expects to pay” $8.61 billion to acquire Comcast’s 33% stake, giving Disney full ownership of Hulu.
But Disney could end up paying more than that. Disney and Comcast have agreed to a valuation process that will assess the fair value of Hulu’s equity as of September 30. If Comcast’s stake is deemed “above the guaranteed floor value,” Disney will have to pay Comcast the difference.
Disney says the timing of the evaluation process is “uncertain,” but it expects it to be completed next year. This all comes from the agreement Disney did with Comcast to buy its one-third stake in Hulu in 2019. The deal was originally expected to take place in 2024, but Comcast and Disney agreed to move the date by September 30.
At the time, the two companies agreed on a minimum valuation of $27.5 billion for Hulu. “It was just an assumption that we chose five years ago,” Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said at an investor conference in September. “The company is much more valuable today than it was then.”
While Hulu barely saw a change in subscriber numbers last quarter, Disney announced a price increase on all its streaming services and alluded to a crackdown on password sharing. In October, Hulu’s ad-free service increased from $14.99/month to $17.99/month, while Hulu with Live TV will increase from $68.99/month to $75.99/month. We’ll likely learn more about Disney’s plans for Hulu during the company’s earnings call next week.
Disclosure: Comcast’s NBCU division is a minority investor in Vox Media, The edgethe parent company of.