Comcast is $8.61 billion richer thanks to Walt Disney acquiring the cable giant’s 33% stake in the streaming service Hulu, but more is expected to come.
The “check is cleared, it’s in the account,” said Comcast President Mike Cavanagh, who spoke at the UBS investor conference on Monday morning, as reported by Next TV. “We expect, and certainly hope to get more than that once the process ends. But it’s really just the beginning.”
On November 1, Disney confirmed that it would acquire Comcast’s remaining stake in Hulu, taking full control of the streaming service. The $8.61 billion payment represents the value of the stake based on an older valuation of $27.5 billion. But the two companies hired investment banks to assess the current value of Hulu, expected to be higher, meaning Disney still needs to cut another check to Comcast.
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts previously said Hulu is worth far more than the original valuation set five years ago. Disney is hoping the increase isn’t that signficant. The two companies expect the appraisal process to be completed next year, meaning there’s still time before Disney needs to make its final payment.
In the meantime, Disney has essentially taken full control of Hulu. That’s important because it’s about to offer a beta version of an app that merges Hulu content with Disney+, something it plans to more formally launch early next year.
Comcast, meanwhile, will need those funds as it continues to invest in its own Peacock streaming service, which lost $565 million in the third quarter despite adding 4 million new customers. With 28 million subscribers in total, it remains one of the smaller players despite a large library.