Disney is primed to finally take over Hulu.
Today the Walt Disney Company announced that it will acquire Comcast/NBC Universal's 33% stake in Hulu. Disney is planning to pay NBC Universal $8.61 billion for that stake, with the amount representing the percentage of a $27.5 billion guaranteed floor value set in 2019. There will be an appraisal process to determine if the company's current value is greater than the 2019 floor value, and if it is, Disney will pay the difference for that stake. Though Disney did not provide a specific timetable for the appraisal process needed to figure out the details of the deal, it did say that they "anticipate it should be completed during the 2024 calendar year."
According to a statement put out by Disney, “The acquisition of Comcast’s stake in Hulu at fair market value will further Disney’s streaming objectives,” though the statement did not go into more detail about what those objectives might be. With the streaming landscape in the midst of this year's chaos, and Disney+ recent pulling completed series such as Willow and the Mysterious Benedict Society from the streamer this past year, there's been a lot of speculation as to what exactly Disney plans to do next in regards to their streaming plans. This new purchase looks like just one more piece of the puzzle.
As for what exactly this all means for the regular consumer? Not much so far, except for the worrying monopoly-based realization that Disney will now fully control two of the biggest names in streaming. Though it is worth noting that once Comcast leaves Hulu, there may be a good deal of Comcast-held television and film that leaves the streaming service as well.