Disney is in discussions to buy AT & Ts's 10 percent stake in Hulu as it enters through the WarnerMedia acquisition, according to a Variety report this morning. The news is not surprising – AT&T had already said it was exploring a sale. And Disney has been looking to increase its stake in Hulu after its 20th Century Fox deal, which, when closed, will see Disney pick up Fox's 30 percent stake in Hulu.
Currently, Disney owns a 30 percent stake in Hulu's streaming service. That means the Fox deal will give it a 60 percent stake in Hulu.
Comcast / NBCU is Hulu's other major owner, but is currently not ready to sell, says Variety.
AT & T had detailed its streaming plans to investors in November, noting the time it was thinking of selling its Hulu efforts as part of its bigger goal of "making money" which was not critical to today's strategies and to pay off his debt. The Hulu share is valued at $ 930 million.
AT&T has little interest in Hulu because it builds its own internet-based streaming services, including live TV service DirecTV Now; the more light watchTV; and a new service that utilizes its WarnerMedia properties. WarnerMedia currently also runs streaming services for its brands, such as HBO NOW, Boomerang, DC Universe and others.
Disney is preparing to launch its family-friendly Netflix competitor, Disney +, but sees Hulu as a place to live There are more adult-oriented programming and general entertainment features.
Today, Hulu has 25 million subscribers, but is still a minor player compared to Netflix because it is not yet available worldwide. Nor has it invested in original programming on Netflix scale. Disney's increased ownership will change these things and help Hulu compete in the market against larger rivals such as Netflix, AT & T / WarnerMedia, and soon Apple.