Massive Marvel Assets Are Potentially on the Trading Block For Disney and Universal

in Disney, Marvel, Movies & TV

Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort

As The Walt Disney Company navigates a new landscape in the streaming universe, there could potentially be one major shake-up involving Disney and Comcast’s Universal Studios that could have significant implications for both companies.

Disney Bundle, Hulu in question.
Credit: Disney

According to one Wall Street analyst, The Walt Disney Company is prepared to part ways with its popular streaming platform Hulu to receive the distribution rights to two popular Marvel Cinematic Universe characters, the Hulk and Namor.

Even though Disney currently owns the intellectual property rights to Marvel’s Hulk and Namor, the company does not maintain the distribution rights to the characters. Because of the current legal setup, Marvel Studios and Disney cannot distribute any Hulk or Namor-centric films to any of its Disney-owned properties. They must only do so on NBCU media platforms, like Peacock.

Since the return of Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger, rumors have been swirling around that the company has potentially been looking for ways to part with streaming platform Hulu. Based on reporting from Yahoo Finance, Disney owns just around two-thirds of the controlling rights to Hulu, with Comcast’s Universal controlling the other third. Based on the joint ownership agreement terms, Comcast can force Disney to buy out its stake in Hulu in January 2024 at a guaranteed minimum equity value of $27.5 billion (or about $9.2 billion for the 33% stake.)

Mark Ruffalo as Hulk in Avengers: Endgame
Credit: Marvel Studios

According to a recently published analyst note to clients from Citi Bank Analyst Jason Bazinet, he would go on to say in his report that “We believe Disney may sell its 67% stake in Hulu; in parallel, we suspect Disney may secure the distribution rights to two Marvel characters held by Comcast (Hulk and Namor).” The analyst would also add, “While the cost of securing these rights is likely small relative to the value of Hulu (we estimate the value at only $0.3 billion), it would fit with Mr. Iger’s desire to focus on core brands and franchises.”

Bazinets’ analysis estimates that Hulu’s fair market value ranges from $19.8 to $27.5 billion.

As we get closer and closer to January 2024, it will be interesting to see what Disney and Comcast Universal decide to do regarding the Hulu situation.

Do you think Disney should part ways with Hulu to receive the distribution rights to other Marvel characters?

in Disney, Marvel, Movies & TV

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