As part of its acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s assets, Disney has filed paperwork with the SEC in which it delves deeply into the properties that it will be acquiring and their values. Among those listed is Hulu, in which Disney will be gaining a 60% controlling interest. According to the filing, Disney has listed Hulu’s value at $9.26 billion. In April, it was estimated that Hulu was worth right at $9 billion, so this is a little higher, but lower than some predicted Disney would value it.
Right now, Disney already owns 30%, which it values at $2.425 billion. Once the acquisition of Fox is complete, Disney states that its shares will be worth $6.1 billion. That includes a $1.25 billion bump, which it will earn for gaining controlling interest.
Time Warner currently owns 10% of Hulu. It paid $583 million for that in 2016, back when Hulu’s value was estimated at being less than $6 billion. Comcast also owns 30% of interest in Hulu. Disney has stated that they are not interested in buying out these other partners, and would rather retain them and their properties.
Disney is, however, interested in expanding the Hulu brand worldwide. Presently, Hulu is only offered in the United States and Canada and boasts 20 million subscribers. On the other hand, Netflix is offered globally, has 137 million subscribers and an estimated value of $114.3 billion.
The timing of this acquisition is a little odd, because Disney has its own specially branded streaming service set to become available next year. Disney+ will be aimed at families, with kid-friendly content. However some of the PG/PG-13 material that will be offered is pretty enticing to older viewers, like two ‘Star Wars’ shows– Jon Favreau‘s ‘The Mandalorian’ and a ‘Rogue One’ prequel starring Diego Luna as Cassian Andor— and new original Marvel series including a ‘Loki’ show starring Tom Hiddleston.
As it stands currently, the Marvel-inspired ‘Runaways’ is available on Hulu. Whether or not Disney opts to add any more original material to Hulu remains to be seen.
The Disney/Fox merger is expected to be finalized in 2019. Disney+ is expected to launch in the fall of 2019.