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
0

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.


Alibaba head’s remarks spark debate over China working hours

Updated 45 min 39 sec ago
0

Alibaba head’s remarks spark debate over China working hours

  • Jack Ma is one of China's richest men and his comments last week brought both condemnation and support as China's more mature economy enters a period of slower growth

BEIJING: Remarks by the head of Chinese online business giant Alibaba that young people should work 12-hour days, six days a week if they want financial success have prompted a public debate over work-life balance in the country.
Jack Ma is one of China’s richest men and his comments last week brought both condemnation and support as China’s more mature economy enters a period of slower growth.
Newspaper People’s Daily, the ruling Communist Party’s mouthpiece, issued an editorial, saying mandatory overtime reflects managerial arrogance and was also impractical and unfair to workers. Online complaints included blaming long work hours for a lower birth rate in the country.
Ma has responded to the criticism by saying work should be a joy and also include time for study, reflection and self-improvement.