Hulu’s Likely Outcome Is Disney Writing Comcast a “Big Check,” NBCUniversal CEO Says

Hulu’s Likely Outcome Is Disney Writing Comcast a “Big Check,” NBCUniversal CEO Says

Despite earlier comments that Comcast may be interested in retaining full control of Hulu, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said he believes the company will sell its stake to Disney

Comcast has a 33 percent stake in the streaming service, while Disney owns the rest and has the option to buy out Comcast starting in January 2024. Speaking at UBS’s Global TMT Conference in New York Monday, Shell said he believes that’s likely the timeline and course of action, while also talking up the price of the stake. 

“We think it’s worth a lot of money because it’s sold on a full-control basis, as if you were auctioning it off. And I think there’s no indication that anything else is going to happen than Disney writing us a big check for the asset in ‘24,” Shell said.

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Comcast CEO Brian Roberts had said in September that “Comcast would be interested” if Hulu were put up for sale, in a move some also saw as a means of raising the “fair market value” Disney would be required to pay to buy them out. 

This also comes after former Disney CEO Bob Chapek indicated he would like to buy out Comcast’s stake “earlier,” rather than later, but only if Comcast offered “reasonable terms.” Now, with Bob Iger taking back the reins, there’s been speculation that he may also want to sell Disney’s stake in order to raise much needed cash for the company. But Hulu — with 47.2 million paid subscribers — remains an important part of Disney’s streaming bundle and Iger recently suggested that most of the company’s core assets would remain.

“Nothing is forever, but I am very, very comfortable with each of the assets that we have,” the Disney exec told employees in a recent town hall.