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What Are Comcast’s Plans for Its 30% Stake in Hulu?

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Jan. 17 2019, Updated 9:00 a.m. ET

Hulu

Hulu is a leading online video streaming service provider and is aggressively investing in original content to grow its subscriber base. Hulu reportedly spent ~$2.5 billion on content in 2018.

Last week, Hulu reported that it had added 8 million subscribers in 2018, and it expects to grow more in 2019. Netflix added 1.09 million subscribers in the third quarter in the United States (SPY). As of January 8, Hulu’s total subscriber count reached 25 million in the United States, ~47% higher than at the same time last year. Hulu’s number of subscribers soared to more than 17 million in 2017, ~42% higher than the 12 million subscribers it had reported in mid-2016.

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Hulu’s ownership

Internet service provider Hulu is jointly owned by the Walt Disney Company (DIS), 21st Century Fox (FOXA), Comcast (CMCSA), and AT&T (T) after its acquisition of Time Warner. While Disney, Comcast’s NBCUniversal, and Fox all have 30% stakes in Hulu, AT&T’s WarnerMedia has a 10% stake in the streaming service provider.

Disney, which is in the process of completing its pending acquisition of 21st Century Fox, will gain Fox’s 30% stake in Hulu, among other assets, after the close of the deal. The acquisition will double Disney’s stake in Hulu to 60%.

After the Disney-Fox deal, NBCUniversal will be left with a minority stake of 30% in one of the leading Internet service providers. If the rumors are true, NBCUniversal could sell off its stake in Hulu once Disney closes on its acquisition. Hulu’s sell-off would make sense, as NBCUniversal is launching its new video streaming service in the first quarter of 2020.

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