Disney is currently in the closing stretch of their highly anticipated acquisition of Fox and now, the House of Mouse is apparently ramping up another big acquisition. According to a new report from Variety, Disney is looking to buy WarnerMedia's stake in Hulu.
As it stands now, Hulu ownership is broken into four parts. Disney, Fox, and Comcast/NBCUniversal each own 30 percent of the company while WarnerMedia owns the last 10 percent. When the Disney/Fox deal inevitably closes, that means the company would own a majority (60 percent) of Hulu, which would grow to a bigger 70 percent should Disney be able to talk WarnerMedia into selling their share.
Though a price hasn't been made public, Disney reportedly valued Hulu at $9.3 billion as recently as last year — meaning they'd likely shell out around one billion dollars for WarnerMedia's stake in the streaming platform.
Should Disney and WarnerMedia make a deal, it all but confirms that Disney will be targeting Hulu for original adult-oriented programming while reserving family, all-ages shows and movies for their brand-new Disney+ streaming service.
In fact, Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed as much in the latest corporate investors call, saying they'd continue making Deadpool and other programming aimed directly at adults if they managed to find out a way to make sure consumers could tell it was an adult property.
WarnerMedia, on the other hand, is also in the process of putting together a streaming platform of their own. Set to debut later this year, the yet-untitled service will reportedly include three different tiers — movies, movies plus original programming, and library content plus licensed programming.
In addition to Disney+, Disney is set up for a monstrous year at the box office. Walt Disney Studios releases this year include Dumbo on March 29th, Aladdin on May 24th, Toy Story 4 on June 21st, The Lion King on July 19, Artemis Fowl on August 9th, and Frozen II on November 22. That's not including Marvel Studio's two films in Captain Marvel (March 8th) and Avengers: Endgame (April 26th) or Star Wars: Episode IX from Lucasfilm.
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