Comcast and Disney are pushing back the deadline to decide Hulu’s future ownership

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The timeline for deciding Hulu’s ownership has been pushed up. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said Wednesday.

Comcast and Disney These discussions are expected to begin on September 30, months ahead of the original deadline of January 2024. The discussions will also include a peer review process.

Under the original 2019 agreement, Comcast can force Disney to buy it, or Disney can require Comcast to sell its remaining 33% stake in January 2024 for a minimum guaranteed aggregate capital value of $27.5 billion.

“We’re excited to see this problem solved,” Roberts said Wednesday at Goldman Sachs’ Communacopia and Technology conference. “And the at least $27.5 billion that people were talking about, that was a hypothesis , which we chose five years ago because Disney has control of the company. The company is much more valuable today than it was back then.”

Roberts called Hulu a great streaming company, second only to industry giant Netflix, with a market capitalization of $200 billion.

The deal between Disney and Comcast is essentially the first-ever sale of a streaming service of this scale, Roberts said Wednesday. The two companies will each have their own appraiser, and if their valuations are far apart, a third will likely be brought in.

There’s more to consider when evaluating Hulu than just the streaming app itself, Roberts said. An assessment would include the platform’s content, much of which is provided by Disney. The parties will also assess that Hulu is sold as a bundle with Disney’s other services, Disney+ and ESPN+, reducing the likelihood of so-called churn, or consumers canceling their subscriptions.

He also noted that synergies could be worth “a few billion dollars” to a Hulu buyer.

“That alone — the synergy and the churn benefit — could be worth $30 billion,” Roberts said.

“I think if you sold this all as is, there would be a line of bidders around the block who would buy all of Hulu’s content and all of its bundling. We’ve never seen this deal before,” Roberts said.

A Disney representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

As CNBC previously reported, there have been discussions between the two companies over the past few years about Hulu’s valuation.

Roberts and Disney CEO Bob Iger has been fielding questions about Hulu’s future for some time.

In May, Roberts said at an investor conference that Comcast would likely sell its 33% stake in Hulu to Disney in early 2024. He suggested that the final price for Hulu would likely be higher than the original valuation.

As the deadline approached, Comcast’s NBCUniversal did so REMOVED Content — including shows like “Saturday Night Live,” which appeared the day after they aired on traditional television — from Hulu and made it available on its own fledgling streaming platform Peacock.

Although Disney+ is the Mouse House’s flagship streaming service, Hulu is its adult-oriented content platform, known for series like “Only Murders in the Building.”

While Iger said on CNBC earlier this year that “everything was on the table” regarding Hulu, he changed his mind shortly after and announced in May that Hulu content would be added to Disney+. The content crossover is part of Disney’s effort to offer a “one-app experience” in the US, Iger said.

The move to add Hulu content to Disney+ comes as Disney focuses on its ad-supported Disney+ option to attract more subscribers and advertising revenue. Iger had called it a “logical evolution” of its streaming options, giving advertisers more options.

The launch of the One App platform is expected to take place at the end of this year.

Disclosure: Comcast owns NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC. Comcast and Disney are pushing back the deadline to decide Hulu’s future ownership

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