September 25, 2022
Disney CEO Bob Chapek wants to own all of Hulu, says initial deal unlikely

Bob Chapek arrives at the premiere of “Pinocchio” held at the Walt Disney Studios Main Theater on September 7, 2022 in Burbank, California.

Michael Buckner | Variety | Getty Images

Disney CEO Bob Chapek said he would love to own Comcast’s 33% stake in Hulu “tomorrow”, but acknowledged that the prospect of an early deal as 2024 approaches is “less and less”. Is.

“I would like nothing more than to come up with that solution to the settlement as soon as possible,” Chapek said in an exclusive interview with CNBC’s David Faber on Wednesday. “But it takes two parties to come up with something that is mutually agreed upon.”

Comcast has an existing mutual agreement with Disney to sell its minority Hulu stake in early January 2024. Activist investor Dan Loeb is prompting Disney to accelerate a deal so that it can fully integrate Hulu with Disney+, creating a “hard bundle” that allows users to seamlessly use one application. To view the content of both services within.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said Wednesday that he would also like to own Hulu if Disney decides to put the streaming service up for sale.

“Hulu is a phenomenal business. It has amazing content and I believe that if it were for sale, then put up for sale, Comcast would be interested,” Roberts said at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference on Wednesday.

Roberts said Comcast would be ready to discuss the sale of its stake before the 2024 deadline, but it’s up to Disney to start the talks. “I think it has tremendous value, and, you know, I’m sure our shareholders share that belief,” Roberts said.

“There’s never been a pure drama, great streaming service on the market. So I don’t know if the public market is the way to judge value.”

But, as CNBC reported earlier this month, Comcast executives expect Disney to stick to its plan to buy Hulu.

Then the question will come down to price. The best way to value Hulu is to find out what it will sell at an in-principle auction, Roberts said at the conference on Wednesday.

Chapek told Faber that this year’s decline in Netflix’s public valuation should factor into the final selling price. In the 2019 agreement Disney and Comcast signed, which guaranteed the sale of a 33% stake by 2024, the companies agreed on a floor price for Hulu of $27.5 billion.

“There’s a floor price too, isn’t it?” Chapek said. “Which, you know, wasn’t relevant even 18 months ago, when the streaming business is still frothy, but now that things have calmed down a lot, the value of the floor looks very high. [relevant],

Disclosure: Comcast owns CNBC’s parent company NBCUniversal.

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