Disney takes control of Hulu

Comcast has agreed to give Walt Disney full control of Hulu. That bolsters Disney's strategy as its new streaming service gets set to compete against Netflix in November.

Disney is taking full control of Hulu. It notched a deal to buy Comcast's stake in the streaming service known for movies and TV shows like The Handmaid's Tale.

The agreement bolsters Disney as it gets set to take on Netflix.

The film studio and entertainment giant that gobbled up the blockbuster Star Wars and Marvel Studio franchises is readying its own subscription streaming service with content like The Lion King.

Hulu also gives Disney an already-quickly-growing audience for drama and thrillers to augment its library of kids and family films.

Hulu competes with Netflix and Amazon.com's Prime Video and has nearly 27 million paid subscribers.

And it added nearly 4 million in the first four months of 2019, putting it on track to surpass the 5.7 million Netflix added in all of last year.

While Disney's takeover is immediate, the sale of Comcast's one-third stake won't happen until after January 2024.

In the meantime, Hulu will continue to license content from the NBC Universal parent.

And there's a sweetener for Comcast shareholders worried about the sale: a $27.5 billion minimum valuation for Hulu baked into the deal.

Disney is now in the driver's seat at Hulu. Comcast has agreed to give the Mouse House full operational control of the streaming service's movie and TV shows such as The Handmaid's Tale. The deal bolsters Disney's position just as its new streaming service gets set to take on powerhouse Netflix come November.

Under the agreement, Disney takes control immediately. But the sale of Comcast's one-third stake in Hulu to Disney won't happen until after January 2024. Either company has the right to trigger that sale. They've agreed to give Hulu a minimum future valuation of at least $27.5 billion.

The pieces are falling in place for Disney to compete against Netflix. Just last month, Hulu bought back AT&T's stake. That left Disney and Comcast as sole shareholders. The two have agreed to jointly fund that buyout.

What's more, Hulu has been growing fast. It added nearly 4 million paid subscribers in the first four months of the year, putting it on track to surpass the 5.7 million Netflix added in all of last year. Hulu complements Disney's lineup. Its offerings are targeted to adults, whereas Disney offers family-friendly entertainment.