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Hulu buys back AT&T's stake in US$1.43b deal

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Hulu is buying back wireless carrier AT&T Inc's 9.5 per cent stake in the streaming service company in a deal valued at US$1.43 billion, the two companies said on Monday.

[BENGALURU] Hulu is buying back wireless carrier AT&T Inc's 9.5 per cent stake in the streaming service company in a deal valued at US$1.43 billion, the two companies said on Monday.

The transaction valued Hulu at US$15 billion. The company, which competes with Netflix Inc and Amazon.com's Prime Video, has more than 25 million subscribers and is expected to lose US$1.5 billion in the current fiscal year.

AT&T did not respond to a Reuters request for a comment on the structure of the deal.

Wall Street analysts were expecting Walt Disney Co, which holds a 60 per cent stake in the joint venture that owns Hulu, to buy AT&T's stake.

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Comcast Corp's NBCUniversal has a 30 per cent stake. Based on the joint venture agreement, Disney and Comcast will get to decide on how they want to allocate the shares bought from AT&T.

Meanwhile, the wireless carrier said it will use the proceeds from the deal to cut down its debt, which stood at US$176.51 billion at the end of 2018.

AT&T said in November it could consider selling its stake in Hulu and review its non-core assets in 2019 as in an effort to cut its pile of debt.

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.

 

REUTERS