Comcast has moved the date it can sell its one-third share of Hulu from January of 2024 to Sept. 30, 2023. As in, this month.
According to Comcast CEO Brian L. Roberts, the date was brought forward “last week” and a modification has been signed to the company’s current agreement. “So as of Sept. 30, after some short period of time, Disney can call,” Roberts said during the Goldman Sachs Communacopia and Technology Conference.
Roberts estimated that period of time would take roughly 30 days. “It will take a little time for this to play out. But both companies wanted to get it behind us, so we pulled the date forward,” Roberts said.
The CEO also revealed that Comcast’s current plan is to return proceeds from the sale to shareholders. A portion of this is expected to be accomplished in 2023.
Disney, which owns two-thirds of Hulu, has been bullish about buying out Comcast’s portion for some time. And in May, Disney CEO Bob Iger touted a potential combination of Hulu and Disney+ should that acquisition take place.
“There seems to be real value in having general entertainment combined with Disney+,” Iger told analysts during the company’s second-quarter earnings call. “And if, ultimately, Hulu is that solution… we’re bullish about that.”
Roberts said the appraisal process will “take some time,” touting the value of Hulu in relation to other streamers given the live TV component, ESPN and other bundling opportunities.
The CEO added that after selling its stake in Hulu, Comcast also expects to increase spending in its businesses.
“We’ve increased the run rate by several billion dollars for the remaining two quarters of the year, which really is a reflection of our confidence in the anticipated outcome and of the valuation process and the strength of our underlying business,” he said.
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