Hulu buys back AT&T’s stake in $1.43 bln deal

The move gives Walt Disney Co, which holds a 60 percent stake in Hulu via a joint venture, more control of the company. (AP)
Updated 16 April 2019

Hulu buys back AT&T’s stake in $1.43 bln deal

  • The deal implies Hulu’s total value is some $15 billion
  • Disney and Comcast will decide on how they want to allocate the shares bought from AT&T

Hulu is buying back wireless carrier AT&T Inc’s 9.5 percent stake in the US entertainment streaming service in a deal valued at $1.43 billion, the two companies said on Monday.
Hulu, which competes with Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com’s Prime Video, has more than 25 million subscribers and is expected to lose $1.5 billion in the current fiscal year.
The deal implies Hulu’s total value is some $15 billion — up from a reported $5.8 billion in 2016, when Time Warner — now a part of AT&T — bought the stake. Netflix at the time had a market capitalization of about $41 billion and is currently valued at $152 billion as on Monday’s close.
The move gives Walt Disney Co, which holds a 60 percent stake in Hulu via a joint venture, more control of the company.
Comcast Corp’s NBCUniversal has a 30 percent stake. Based on the joint venture agreement, Disney and Comcast will decide on how they want to allocate the shares bought from AT&T.
It was unclear how the deal could affect content on Hulu in the immediate future. AT&T is preparing to launch its own subscription streaming video service.
Hulu Chief Executive Officer Randy Freer said in a statement that “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.”
AT&T did not respond to a Reuters request for comment on the structure of the deal.
The wireless carrier said it would use the proceeds from the deal to cut down its debt, which stood at $176.5 billion at the end of 2018.
The company had said in November it could consider selling its stake in Hulu and review its non-core assets in 2019.
Disney last week forecast Hulu’s subscribers to reach 40 million to 60 million by fiscal 2024 and become profitable in the United States by either 2023 or 2024.


White House says Trump regrets not raising tariffs higher

US President Donald Trump arrives at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, on Sunday. Trump had been trying to use the conference to rally global leaders to do more to stimulate their economies, as fears rise of a potential slowdown in the US ahead of his reelection. (AP)
Updated 27 min 23 sec ago

White House says Trump regrets not raising tariffs higher

  • President’s comments appear at first to mark a rare moment of self-reflection by the US leader

TOKYO: President Donald Trump said Sunday that he had second thoughts about escalating the trade war with China, but the White House later reversed that message saying the president was misinterpreted and that his only regret in hiking tariffs is that he didn’t raise them higher. Trump faced a tense reception from world leaders meeting amid mounting anxiety of a global economic slowdown at the Group of Seven summit in France. During a breakfast meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Trump suggested he had qualms about the spiraling conflict. “Yeah. For sure,” Trump told reporters when asked if he has second thoughts about escalating the dispute, adding he has “second thoughts about everything.”
But hours later, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a statement saying Trump’s comments about US tariffs on China were “greatly misinterpreted.”
She said Trump only responded “in the affirmative — because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher.” The comments appeared at first to mark a rare moment of self-reflection by the famously hard-nosed leader. But the later reversal fit a pattern for Trump in recoiling from statements he believes suggest weakness.

HIGHLIGHTS

• President Donald Trump faced a tense reception from world leaders meeting amid mounting anxiety of a global economic slowdown at the Group of Seven summit in France.

• White House said comments about US tariffs on China were ‘greatly misinterpreted.’

Trump had been trying to use the conference to rally global leaders to do more to stimulate their economies, as fears rise of a potential slowdown in the US ahead of his reelection. Trump’s counterparts, including Johnson, are trying to convince him to back off his trade wars with China and other countries, which they see as contributing to the economic weakening.

US-Japan agreement
Trump and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on Sunday a deal in principle on a major bilateral trade deal.
“It’s a very big transaction,” Trump said after talks with Abe on the sidelines of the G7 summit.
“Billions and billions of dollars,” he said. “It involves agriculture, it involves e-commerce. It involves many things. We’ve agreed in principle.”

Amazon fires
Also on Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron said that world leaders at the G7 summit have agreed to help the countries affected by the huge wildfires ravaging the Amazon rainforest as soon as possible.
“We are all agreed on helping those countries which have been hit by the fires as fast as possible,” he told journalists.