CNBC: Disney CEO Bob Iger Open to Selling Hulu Stake
February 9, 2023
With Disney facing a 2024 deadline to acquire Comcast’s outstanding ownership stake in Hulu for at least $27.5 billion, CEO Bob Iger is having second thoughts on the acquisition option.
Speaking Feb. 9 on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” Wall Street morning show, Iger, who just announced $5.5 billion in cost-cutting measures that include 7,000 layoffs across Disney, said management’s previous mindset to acquire Hulu outright has changed.
“Everything is on the table right now, so I am not going to speculate whether we are a buyer or a seller of it,” Iger said.
Previous CEO Bob Chapek, who Iger replaced in December, had indicated a desire to acquire Comcast’s 33% stake — but at a lower price. Meanwhile, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts has told investor groups that he is open to buying Disney’s stake.
When asked by show host David Faber whether he would be open to Comcast acquiring Disney’s stake in Hulu, the CEO said management would be “open minded” to that.
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In its latest fiscal report, Hulu added 700,000 subs to end 2022 with 43.5 million subscribers. The platform also saw quarterly operating expenses and production costs balloon to $2.1 billion.
“I obviously have suggested that I’m concerned about undifferentiated general entertainment [costs], particularly in the competitive landscape that we are operating in, and we are going to look at [Hulu] very objectively and expansively,” Iger said.