Comcast CEO Says Hulu Sale Process to Disney Will Now Begin Sept. 30

Disney Purchase of Comcast’s Hulu Stake to Begin Sept. 30, Brian Roberts Says

(Bloomberg) — Walt Disney Co. agreed to move up the date at which it must begin the process of buying Comcast Corp.’s one-third stake in the Hulu streaming service to Sept. 30 from January.

Brian Roberts, Comcast’s chief executive officer, said at an investor conference Wednesday that the parties will move to an appraisal process about 30 days later, adding “it will take a little time for this to play out.” 

The two companies agreed in 2019 that Disney would buy the one-third stake at a price that values the entire business at a minimum of $27.5 billion. Roberts said the value of the business is higher.

“That was just a hypothetical that we picked five years ago,” he said at the Goldman Sachs Group Inc. conference. “The company is way more valuable today than it was then.”

Roberts called Hulu a “scarce, kingmaker asset.” The service had 48.3 million subscribers as of July 1. 

In a research note Wednesday, Wells Fargo & Co. analyst Steven Cahall valued Hulu at $30 billion based on comparisons with industry leader Netflix Inc.

Comcast plans to use the sale proceeds in part to buy back its shares.

(Updates with analyst’s comment in second-to-last paragraph.)

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