Part of Bob Iger’s two-year plan as the re-installed CEO of The Walt Disney Company is to oversee the sale of the Mouse House to a bigger corporation, according to an insider.
On Sunday evening, November 20, Disney made a surprise announcement: Chapek was out, and Iger had accepted a two-year contract as Disney’s CEO, though no real details about the reasons on which the board had based its decision to remove Chapek from his role, though a report from The Wall Street Journal alleges that Chapek was engaged in deceptive financial practices to conceal the true revenue losses incurred by the company’s streaming platform.
Bob Iger, a 47-year veteran of The Walt Disney Company, finally, officially walked away from his post on December 31, 2021, though he’d had an exit plan since at least 2018. He began with the company five decades ago, working as a weather reporter for a Disney-owned ABC news station and ultimately becoming the Chairman and CEO of Walt’s beloved company in 2005.
He left his executive post at Disney unexpectedly in February 2020, leaving in his place Bob Chapek, who was, at that time, serving in the role of Vice President of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products. Iger stayed on as Chairman of the Board at Disney until December 2021.
The days since Disney’s shockwave-inducing announcement have been a whirlwind. Part of the media frenzy surrounding Iger’s re-installation at Disney has been focused on what Iger plans to do during the next two years at Disney, and a “Disney insider” has come forward–though in anonymity–to propose that Iger plans to sell Disney to a corporate powerhouse, thought by some to be Apple.
A report at AppleInsider says that no matter how many times a Minnie-Mickey-iPad-iPhone partnership is suggested, encouraged, talked about, or publicized, Apple simply has no plans for such an acquisition. The idea of an Apple-Disney merger or acquisition isn’t a new one. In fact, Steve Jobs’ untimely passing is likely what stopped a merger years ago.
But the same report does state than an insider has knowledge of Iger’s plans when it comes to the future of the House of Mouse.
“[Iger’s] going to sell the company,” the source, who’s described as a “Disney insider” and has worked for Iger, said. “This is the pinnacle deal for the ultimate dealmaker.”
And the ultimate dealmaker, he is–Iger, that is. He personally oversaw a laundry list of mergers and acquisitions during his first “term” as CEO of The Walt Disney Company. That list of major transactions conducted under Iger’s administration is long:
- Miramax – 1993; $60 million
- Capital Cities/ABC/ESPN – 1995; $19 billion
- Starwave – 1998; undisclosed amount
- Infoseek – 1999; undisclosed amount
- Fox Family Worldwide (Freeform) – 2001; $2.9 billion
- Baby Einstein – 2001; undisclosed amount
- The Muppets – 2004; $75 million
- CrossGen – 2004; $1 million
- Avalanche Software – 2005; undisclosed amount
- Pixar – 2006; $7.4 billion
- Oswald the Lucky Rabbit – 2006; traded for the rights to sports broadcaster Al Michaels
- Junction Point Studios – 2007; undisclosed amount
- Marvel – 2009; $4 billion
- Hulu – 2009; 30% purchase (increased to full ownership in 2019)
- Wideload Games – 2010; undisclosed amount
- Tapulous – 2010; undisclosed amount
- Playdom – 2010; $563 million
- UTV Software Communications – 2011; $297 million
- Lucasfilm (Star Wars) – 2012; $4.06 billion
- Maker Studios – 2014; $500 million
- Sphero – 2014; unknown minority investment
- BAM – 2016 & 2017; $2.58 billion total
- 21st Century Fox – 2019; $71.3 billion
So another acquisition would be in keeping with Iger’s brand of “business as usual,” but in reverse. It doesn’t sound too far off to suppose that Iger could be considering such a sale, especially when the company’s massive losses in recent months are taken into account.
Perhaps selling Walt’s company to a larger overseer is one of the items on Iger’s agenda. That remains to be seen. But for now, Apple says the other side of a Disney partnership simply won’t be the company founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniack. If not Apple, though, which corporate conglomerate could undertake such a feat of operation required 365 days a year for Disney to fluorish?
Selling to the wrong hands could prove to be the final straw for Disney, and that’s not a world in which many want to live.