The CEO of NBCUniversal parent Comcast said it’s “more likely than not” the company will end up selling its third of Hulu to Disney, after his Mouse counterpart indicated clearly last week that this would be Disney’s preferred outcome. There’s been some grandstanding over the past year as the deadline approaches, but both of Hulu’s parents appear to be on or near the same page now.
“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,” Roberts told investors at the MoffettNathanson TMT conference. Earlier this year, Iger had bit more skeptical on “undifferentiated” general entertainment streaming, versus Disney+ targeted brands.
Comcast can put its stake to Disney, or Disney can call it in, early next year. The Disney chief said that the two sides have had “cordial” and “constructive” conversations about Hulu.
“I think it’s more likely than not that we go through with what we said all along. That … they’ll put, we’ll call at the beginning of next year,” he said.
“I think Disney recognized as anybody else would recognize that Hulu is really valuable,” Roberts said. The contractual floor valuation is about $9 billion for the stake. He hopes it will be well north of that.
The question is what “a willing buyer in a robust auction” would pay. “And it’s sort of a hypothetical question,” since there’s never been an asset like this for sale — a platform with more than 50 million Hulu domestic streaming subscribers, “all the content from Disney and Fox. And so what’s worth to any buyer, including Disney? We’re including Comcast, we’re including other tech companies, or whomever. And that’s what the job is…to give us one-third of that value. I think we have a very valuable position.”
MORE to come…