The Yahoo Finance Live team discusses Comcast CEO Brian Roberts' comments that the company is likely to sell its 33% stake in Hulu, as the streaming service is set to combine with Disney+ into a single app by year's end.
- Comcast CEO Brian Roberts fairly confident that the company will sell its minority Hulu stake to Disney. Here's a bit more of what he had to say during MoffettNathanson's telecom conference earlier today.
BRIAN ROBERTS: The fact is that Bob Iger, on his earnings call last week, said that they're now back interested in general entertainment, which is no surprise. And I think it's more likely than not that-- that we go through what we've said all along, that the majority case, vast majority case, is that we'll put, they'll call, and at the beginning of next year.
- And remember, guys, Disney currently owns 2/3 of Hulu, with Comcast Universal controlling the rest. Under the terms of the joint ownership agreement, Comcast could require Disney to buy out its stake in the streamer as early as January 2024, at a guaranteed minimum equity value of $27.5 billion or about $9.2 billion for that 33% stake. But Roberts saying at that conference that he thinks they're going to be able to sell it for a heck of a lot more than that.
- Well, look, on the earnings call, Iger-- Disney's earnings call last week-- Iger had said that he'd had talks with Roberts, with Comcast, about that stake. And then he had said the talks were quote, "constructive." So it definitely sounds like this seems to be the path that they're moving forward. But in terms of timing, Comcast had thought this would happen before now.
- Yeah, and then you're really looking at that 2024 date now, it seems like, from as far as what's going to happen in the future. And I just think beneficial to shareholders is what you highlight here, right, Akiko, as far as what matters moving forward for Comcast, basically saying, Hulu's a good asset. We're kind of trying to figure out what's going on with our own streaming service, Peacock. Maybe it's best for us to unload this at a high value and figure out what's going on with Peacock.
Akiko, I know you and I talk plenty about sports streaming. I couldn't believe Peacock paying $110 million for one NFL game. I mean, what is going on with Peacock?
AKIKO FUJITO: That's a whole 'nother conversation.
- I can't believe what's going on with Peacock.
AKIKO FUJITO: But look, Ali's point here-- 27 and a half billion dollar valuation, right? I mean, that was in 2019. The expectation, at least from the comments we got from Roberts today, appears to be he thinks it could go for a lot more-- 50 million subscribers or roughly 50 million subscribers. I am curious about that price tag because you have to wonder how that sets a precedent when you look at the rest of the streaming landscape. They're commanding a lot higher, but they're also struggling in some way.
- Yeah, it's certainly an interesting space. And I don't know if we're going to get any clear answers on what happens with Hulu in the near term.