During Bob Iger’s first term as Disney CEO, the company went on an impressive buying streak. Acquisitions were the name of the game during Iger’s initial reign. During that time, the number of Disney-owned properties expanded at an explosive rate.
For those keeping track at home of the Walt Disney Company’s quest for world domination, in addition to Disney branded content, the company owns Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, ESPN, 20th Century Studios, Hulu, ABC, 21st Century Fox, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Records, A+E Networks, Searchlight Pictures, National Geographic, Hollywood Pictures, and a whole slew of non-Disney branded hotels in California. That’s…a lot.
During the WSJ Tech Live 2022 conference in October, it was clear that Iger’s successor and then CEO Bob Chapek had no plans to continue that trend. ” We have the best creative teams, the best brands, and franchises in the world,” said Chapek, “We’re quite happy to have the output level across our channels without having to be a buyer in the open marketplace. At this point, our plan is to have all our content creation self-contained.”
When Iger took the company back from Chapek, fans wondered if this meant the company would continue to buy up potential competitors and bring them into the fold. This, however, is one area where Iger and Chapek seem to agree. The newly reinstated CEO has said that acquisitions are not part of his current game plan. In a Town Hall meeting, he said, “I think they can serve our company and shareholders well for a long time, and there’s no sense of urgency or even interest right now in acquiring anything more, so don’t expect that as a headline any time soon.”
This 180 from his previous strategy is surprising but not entirely unexpected. As the company looks to take a quality over quantity approach, keeping things in-house makes sense. Disney+ is struggling from a profit perspective, and Iger seems intent on righting that ship before setting his sights elsewhere.