Disney is close to owning a majority stake in Hulu, and now the company is reportedly looking to expand that by acquiring AT&T’s 10 percent stake in the streaming service.
Disney is in active talks with AT&T to buy its stake in Hulu, according to Variety. The sale would reportedly net AT&T close to $1 billion and give Disney up to a 70 percent ownership in Hulu. Disney already owns 30 percent of Hulu, and it’s in the process of acquiring 21st Century Fox, which owns another 30 percent.
AT&T executives have talked about a sale in past, announcing in a conference last November that the company was interested in selling its minority stake. WarnerMedia, now owned by AT&T, is gearing up to launch a standalone streaming service of its own.
AT&T is focused on WarnerMedia’s upcoming streaming service, but Disney has its eyes on two services: Hulu and Disney+. Disney+ will launch later this year and carry exclusive Disney movies and TV shows, but it will launch domestically at first and still have to cater to its family friendly brand. Gaining a majority stake in Hulu can help the company take the streaming service international and cater to a more adult audience. It’s something that CEO Bob Iger has spoken about in previous calls with investors.
“After the deal closes and after we have the 60 percent ownership, we’ll meet with the Hulu management team and the board, and discuss what the opportunities are in terms of both global growth and investing more in content,” Iger said in November.
Comcast, the other company with a 30 percent stake in Hulu, isn’t likely to sell its slice of the company any time soon. Steve Burke, CEO of NBC Universal, which is owned by Comcast, told investors recently that the company isn’t interested in selling its 30 percent stake in the streaming service anytime soon.