Written by Helen Koster and Don Chmielfsky
(Reuters) – Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ:) CEO Brian Roberts used the unusual public forum of the Goldman Sachs (NYSE:) Communacopia + Technology Conference on Wednesday to signal that the company will seek market value for its minority stake in Hulu.
Roberts was asked to reply to Walt Disney (NYSE:) Co-CEO Bob Chabek comments to the Financial Times on Monday that he would like to speed up the timeline for acquiring Comcast’s one-third stake in Hulu.
Chapek said he’d like to settle the Hulu issue sooner in January 2024, but told the publication that Comcast seemed reluctant. It’s a sentiment that the CEO reiterated on Wednesday, in remarks at the Goldman Sachs conference.
The deal, reached in 2019, set a minimum valuation of $27.5 billion for Hulu, in a deal that would give Disney full ownership of the service. Entanglement noted that market sentiment has plummeted since the original agreement was struck and investors are becoming more skeptical about the broadcast, suggesting a more modest payout.
Responding to Chapek’s comments, Roberts touted the value of Hulu, stating that the streaming service, with 46 million subscribers and an established brand, would receive a premium. He said the agreement with Disney expects Hulu’s valuation to reflect the price it could charge if it were sold on the market.
“Hulu is an exceptional business,” Roberts said, adding that it would attract many bidders if it were all for sale.
Comcast launched its Peacock streaming service two years ago, but growth stalled at 13 million paid subscribers. Disney surpassed Netflix Inc (NASDAQ 🙂 in the third quarter, with a total of 221.1 million streaming subscribers – including Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ – and added 14.4 million Disney+ customers during that period.