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Disney gets control of Hulu in deal with Comcast

Hulu hits 26.8 million subscribers

Burbank, Calif. — Disney said Tuesday it has struck a deal with cable provider Comcast that gives the entertainment company control of streaming service Hulu.

Comcast as early as January 2024 can require Disney to buy NBCUniversal's 33% interest in Hulu or be required to sell its stake for the fair market value at that future time. Disney guaranteed a sale price that represents a minimum total equity value of $27.5 billion.

The Walt Disney Co. and Comcast Corp. have also agreed to fund Hulu's recent purchase of AT&T Inc.'s 9.5% interest in Hulu.

Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a media call Tuesday that the deal gives the company the ability to bundle its streaming services with ease, meaning consumers can buy one, two or all three of its platforms. The company has Disney Plus, ESPN Plus, and Hulu under its umbrella. Hulu has nearly 27 million paid subscribers.

"We can integrate it across our other platforms," Iger said. 

Under Iger, Disney has made expanding into streaming a priority. In April, the company unveiled Disney Plus, which is expected to launch in November. The streaming service is priced at $6.99 per month, roughly half what Netflix charges for its most popular streaming plan. 

Disney has said Hulu will continue to offer general entertainment programming while Disney Plus will be focused on family fare. In 2018, the company also launched ESPN Plus to broadcast sports content online.