And then there were two. Hulu, which is owned by four big media companies – Disney, 21st Century Fox, NBCUniversal and AT & T / Werner Media – now wants to be co-owned by Disney and NBCU. AT & T and Hulu have struck a deal for AT & T to sell their minority stake in Hulu back to the video streaming joint venture.
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The transaction valued Hulu at $ 15 billion, with AT & T's 9.5% interest worth $ 1.43 billion.
Following Disney's recent $ 71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets, including its stake in Hulu, Disney has become a stakeholder in the joint venture with about 60%, followed by NBCU (30%) and WernerMedia. The two remaining owners now want to allocate WarnerMedia's 9.5% share.
Hulu has become a key part of Disney's NBCU's current ownership (2: 1) Company's big direct-to-consumer presentation will last week. Today's transaction may well be Hulu's sole owner.
"We thank AT & T for their support and investment over the past two years and look forward to working together in the future." WarnerMedia wants to be the best of TV, live and on demand, "says Hulu CEO Randy Freer.
AT & T wants to use this transaction, along with additional planned sales of non-core assets, to reduce its debt following its $ 85-billion acquisition of Time Warner's last buzzer.
AT & T's SVP and CFO's John Stephens said that WarnerMedia and debt reduction are the company's key priorities. $ 180 billion in debt, had shaved off $ 9 billion by the end of 2018 and it said it would use another $ 12 billion in free cash flow to continue paying it down.