Telecommunications giant A&T has sold its minority stake in Hulu back to the online subscription video streaming service, a joint venture between Disney and Comcast.
The transaction valued Hulu at US$15 billion, with AT&T’s 9.5% stake worth US$1.43 billion. The transaction did not require government or third-party approvals.
AT&T noted in a release that it will use “proceeds from this transaction, along with additional planned sales of non-core assets, to reduce its debt.” AT&T recently purchased TimeWarner – now WarnerMedia – for US$85.4 billion.
Disney’s $71 billion acquisition of 21 Century Fox’s assets this past March gave the media giant a 60% stake in Hulu, with Comcast and WarnerMedia remaining as minority shareholders in the service. Launched in 2008, Hulu currently has more than 25 million subscribers in the U.S.
“We thank AT&T for their support and investment over the past two years and look forward to collaboration in the future,” said Hulu CEO Randy Freer in a statement. “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.”
As WarnerMedia exits from Hulu, it’s revving up to launch its own direct-to-consumer streaming service in Q4 2019, led by Kevin Reilly.
Additionally, Comcast is prepping to roll out its own yet-to-be-named streaming platform in 2020 which will give NBCUniversal pay-TV subscribers in the U.S. and internationally access to free content, supported by advertising revenue.
(With files from Barry Walsh and Frederick Blichert)