Today it was announced that Hulu has purchased AT&T’s 9.5% minority stake in Hulu for $1.43 billion. AT&T’s recent purchase of Time Warner gave them 10% ownership of Hulu but had no board seats. Now AT&T has agreed to sell that 9.5% share of Hulu back to Hulu for $1.43 billion. According to AT&T and Hulu, this “transaction did not require any governmental or other third-party approvals and was simultaneously signed and closed.”
Update #2: Hulu says they own the 9.5% of Hulu that AT&T just sold them. Disney and Comcast now have an opportunity to buy that share from Hulu. (Some reports that Disney now owns the 9.5% of Hulu seem to be inaccurate.)
“We thank AT&T for their support and investment over the past two years and look forward to collaboration in the future. WarnerMedia will remain a valued partner to Hulu for years to come as we offer customers the best of TV, live and on demand, all in one place,” said Hulu CEO Randy Freer.
Many had expected Disney to buy AT&T’s share of Hulu but the press release says that the deal came from Hulu. Disney currently owns 60% of Hulu after they closed on its deal to buy most of FOX including FOX’s 30% ownership of Hulu.
With this deal, Hulu is now owned by just two companies Comcast and Disney. Exactly how the 9.5% non-voting share of Hulu will be split up is unknown at this time. There have been reports that Disney is interested in getting full control of Hulu. To do this they would now need to buy out Comcast’s 30% ownership of Hulu.
AT&T says it will “use proceeds from this transaction, along with additional planned sales of non-core assets, to reduce its debt.”
Update: The press release lists AT&T’s share of Hulu at 9.5%. Previously it had been reported that AT&T owned 10%. We are looking into the other .5% of Hulu and who owns that share.
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