Disney CEO Bob Chapek says he’d like to own all of Hulu ‘tomorrow’ but says chances of an early deal are slim

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  • Disney CEO Bob Chapek said he would like to own 33% of Comcast’s Hulu stock “tomorrow.”
  • He acknowledged that the chances of an early deal are “less and less”.
  • Comcast has a mutual agreement in place with Disney to sell its minority stake in Hulu as early as January 2024.

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Disney CEO Bob Chapek said he’d like to own Comcast’s 33% stake in Hulu “tomorrow” but admitted the chances of an early deal are “shrinking and shrinking” as 2024 approaches.

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“I would like nothing more than to find a solution for an early agreement,” Chapek said in an exclusive interview with CNBC’s David Faber on Wednesday. “But it takes two sides to come up with something mutually acceptable.”

Comcast has a mutual agreement with Disney to sell its minority stake in Hulu as early as January 2024. Activist investor Dan Loeb is pushing Disney to speed up the deal so it can fully integrate Hulu with Disney+, creating a “hard-pack” that seamlessly allows users to view content from both services in the same app.

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Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said on Wednesday that he would also like to own Hulu if Disney decides to put the streaming service up for sale.

“Hulu is a phenomenal business… It has great content, and I think if it was up for sale, Comcast would be interested,” Roberts said at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference on Wednesday.

Roberts added that Comcast is open to discussing the sale of its stake before the 2024 deadline, but it’s up to Disney to initiate the conversation. “I think it has tremendous value and, you know, I’m sure our shareholders share that sentiment,” Roberts said.

“The market has never had a pure game, a great streaming service. So I’m not sure that public markets are a way to assess value.”

But as CNBC reported earlier this month, Comcast executives expect Disney to stick to its Hulu buyout plan.

Then the question turns to price. Roberts said at a conference Wednesday that the best way to value Hulu is to figure out how much it would sell for in a theoretical auction.

Chapek told Faber that Netflix’s decline in public valuation this year should affect the final sale price. In a 2019 deal signed by Disney and Comcast that guaranteed the sale of a 33% stake by 2024, the companies agreed to a floor price for Hulu of $27.5 billion.

“There is a minimum price, right?” Chapek said. “Which, you know, didn’t even matter 18 months ago when the streaming business was still frothy, but now that things have calmed down a bit, that minimum looks a lot more [relevant].”

Disclosure: Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC.

Credit: www.cnbc.com /

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