Comcast Corp was reportedly in talks with Walt Disney Co as the wireless carrier is considering availing an option of selling its stakes in Hulu, according to a CNBC report, citing people familiar with the matter.
The news emerged on Thursday was just 10 days after Hulu agreed to buy back minority stakes of 9.5 percent from wireless carrier AT&T Inc for $1.43 billion, a deal that valued Comcast’s stake in the video streaming service at $4.5 billion or more.
Disney came to be the owner of 60 percent stakes in Hulu after acquisition of the entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox Inc. for $71 billion in March, and if Disney successfully concludes the talks with the Comcast, then it would be emerging getting full control of the U.S. entertainment streaming service for holding 90 percent share in it.
Comcast is weighing number of Hulu-related factors, including its value, future control on the video streaming service and utilization of the potential proceeds from sale of its stakes in Hulu, CNBC said, citing peoples familiar with the matter, adding that Comcast is also deciding whether it is better to go selling stakes now or later, and it is uncertain whether the deal succeeds to be concluded or not.
Comcast has never been influential in Hulu’s operations as it has not been allowed to do so as part of a consent decree with the U.S. government related to its acquisition of NBCUniversal in 2011.
In recent years, Hulu saw its value as well as subscribers increasing, but is still not financially fruitful to the investors as the service yet not made any profits and is expected to be making a loss of $ 1.5 billion this year as well as for next four to five years at least.
But the bright side is that it came on adding more subscribers attached to its service and company is expected to be having as many as 60 million subscribers by fiscal 2024, said the Disney in an investor presentation this month.