AT&T has sold its minority stake in Hulu for $1.43 billion, with Comcast and Disney left as the remaining owners of the streaming service.
The price tag for AT&T’s 9.5 percent share values Hulu at $15 billion. Disney holds a 60 percent share after closing its $71 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox entertainment assets earlier this year, and Comcast owns a 30 percent stake in Hulu.
AT&T’s share was acquired through its acquisition of Time Warner, which invested $583 million in Hulu in 2016. AT&T will use proceeds from sale of its Hulu stake to reduce its debt. The new WarnerMedia unit plans to launch its own streaming service later this year, featuring entertainment assets like HBO, among others.
It remains to be seen if content from AT&T-owned networks like TBS and TNT will be pulled from Hulu, but Hulu CEO Randy Freer said in a statement that “WarnerMedia will remain a valued partner to Hulu for years to come.”
Hulu offers its VOD service with ads for $6 per month, an ad-free version for $12 per month and a live TV option with more than 50 linear channels plus an on-demand library for $45 per month.
Speaking at an investor event last week, Disney executives hinted the company would “likely” bundle Hulu, ESPN+ and the forthcoming Disney+ service for a discounted amount. Details of the Disney+ service, which is poised to compete with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO Go, were recently revealed including a low $7 per month price tag and November 12 launch date.
Comcast too, is getting in on the streaming game, with plans to launch an NBCUniversal direct-to-consumer streaming service in early 2020. An ad-supported version will be free for existing Comcast and Sky pay TV customers, with a commercial-free paid version available for others.