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Disney and Comcast in talks over Hulu

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Disney and Comcast are apparently in talks for Comcast to sell its 30% stake in the US video streaming platform Hulu, sources have told CNBC.

Hulu was originally a joint venture between NBC Universal - now owned by Comcast -, 21st Century Fox and AOL - now Time Warner, owned by AT&T.

The service is now owned by Comcast and Disney, which acquired ownership of Fox's 30% stake in Hulu when it completed its takeover of 21st Century Fox assets in March.

Last week, AT&T sold its 9.5% stake in the service back to Hulu, which will be split between Comcast and Disney, unless Disney takes Hulu over entirely.

Although Hulu does not disclose its revenue, both Comcast and 21st Century Fox have had to post losses in the past few years, which they attributed to write-downs due to the video streaming service.

Disney has also had to note a write-down, and a rough calculation of the write-downs shows Hulu lost at least $1bn in 2018.

Comcast gets 30% of Sky

Game of Thones
Game of Thrones is on Sky

Comcast, the US cable giant which won the auction to buy Sky, has announced it has acquired a 30% stake in the UK broadcaster.

The company said it had bought 515,885,170 shares at £17.28 per share.

Shareholders have until 11 October to accept the offer, which was successful after an unusual blind auction process set by the UK's Takeover Panel.

It was announced on Saturday that Comcast had beaten Rupert Murdoch's Fox, which had wanted to take over the 61% of Sky it does not already own.

More consolidation in media ahead?

Rebecca O’Keeffe, head of investment at interactive investor has shared her thoughts on that successful Comcast bid for Sky. She said:

The premium that is being offered by Comcast is indicative of how much pressure is on traditional media platforms. Their newer tech savvy rivals have revolutionised the way people engage with TV and internet content. Legacy media companies are desperate to find a place in this new order and consolidation in the sector is likely to continue.

Sky accepts Comcast offer 'immediately'

Sky's chief executive Jeremy Darroch
Sky's chief executive Jeremy Darroch

Broadcaster Sky has confirmed that it will accept Comcast's £17.28 a share offer for the business which it said "represents an excellent outcome for independent Sky shareholders".

Martin Gilbert, chairman of the independent committee of Sky thanked chief executive Jeremy Darroch - who The Times reports will receive £50m courtesy of various performance related share schemes - and finance chief Andrew Griffith "for their outstanding leadership of the business throughout the twenty-one month bid process".

'Cord-cutting' compelled Comcast

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4


Liberum media analyst Ian Whittaker says that Fox-Disney and Comcast wanted Sky for different reasons.

"Disney has decided that it needs to go more direct to the consumer in terms of its offering," he tells BBC Radio 4's Today programme."Traditionally it has gone though pay-TV operators in terms of its content."

He adds: "What Comcast wants to is a major cable operator in the states for pay-TV. It wants to diversify its revenue streams away from North America where there is this phenomenon called cord-cutting where essentially people are saying 'we don't want to pay for an expensive pay-TV bundle. What we will do now is actually move to cheaper services such as Netflix.

"And I think for Comcast quite frankly in terms of its strategy, it decided it was far probably far more important than for Disney."

Today's business headlines

Today's business sections

What's in today's business sections?

The Times leads with: "Comcast's auction win lands Sky boss £50m". It reports that chief executive Jeremy Darroch is in line to trouser £50m from the sale.

In The Guardian's Financial section, the main story is: "Airlines' demand for oil will offset impact of electric cars in next five years, says Opec". That's pretty self-explanatory.

The Financial Times splashes with news of that Labour plan to turn 10% of equity over to staff, but its Companies & Markets section is topped with: "PE firm Apollo under fire for fees charged to life insurer".

The paper reports criticism of Apollo Global Management from a former employee.