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AT&T bows out of Hulu; will Comcast be next to sell its stake?



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NEW YORK – AT & T has sold its 9.5% stake in Hulu to the television broadcast company, leaving Disney and Comcast as its owners.

Hulu said Monday that AT & T

T -0.56%

it sold its stake for $ 1,430 million, valuing the unprofitable Hulu at $ 15,000 million.

The Walt Disney Co.

DIS, + 1.52%

ended with a 60% stake after the purchase of much of 21st Century Fox, which included Fox's participation in Hulu. NBCUniversal parent Comcast Corp.

CMCSA, + 1.16%

It has 30%. There is speculation that Comcast will also sell, leaving Disney as the sole owner and perhaps making the Hulu content much more Disney-centric.

Disney may include Hulu with its upcoming children-focused broadcast service, Disney Plus, and its sports service, ESPN Plus, executives said last week.

The $ 6 a month Hulu service allows users to watch original series and network TV episodes after they are broadcast on television. It has a new live television service that costs $ 45 per month.

AT & T acquired its stake in Hulu after buying Time Warner, which invested $ 583 million in Hulu in 2016. Now, the company, known as WarnerMedia, will launch its own broadcast service later this year, which will focus on HBO and others. programs and movies owned by the company.

NBCUniversal will also launch a broadcast service in 2020.

The fragmentation of broadcast services can mean higher costs for consumers, as they search for all their favorite shows and movies in different services.

Hulu CEO Randy Freer said in a statement that AT & T's WarnerMedia, which provides content to Hulu, will remain "a valuable partner."

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