Disney to buy Comcast’s shares in Hulu, giving it full ownership of streaming service

Disney is set to acquire Comcast’s remaining shares of Hulu, taking virtually full ownership of the popular streaming service.

In a deal announced Wednesday, Disney said it will pay NBC Universal, a subsidiary of Comcast, approximately $8.61 billion for its 33 percent stake in Hulu.

An appraisal of the deal should be completed in 2024, the company said.

The move to acquire a majority stake in Hulu is the latest sign that the theme park, media and entertainment conglomerate is looking to broaden its reach in the online streamable content marketplace.

Hulu already provides livestreaming sports options for subscribers. Disney meanwhile owns sports media giant ESPN, with many of its live sports telecasts broadcast on ABC.

Disney’s moves in the media and streaming space have been watched closely for months.

Comments from Disney CEO Bob Iger this summer sparked widespread speculation the company may soon get out of the linear television business by selling ABC and its other television properties.

Iger, in comments given to CNBC, suggested the company’s television arm “might not be core” to its overall business.

Each of the major television and entertainment companies is grappling with changing consumer habits, a volatile advertising market and broader concerns about the state of the economy.

Forbes reported earlier this year Hulu had 48 million subscribers, an increase of 800,000 from the previous September, while Disney +, the company’s in-house streaming service, sat at 161 million paying subscribers.

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