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Apple Runs Out of Time as Disney Moves Into Talks With Another Tech Giant

Tech and communications company Verizon is reportedly in talks to buy part of The Walt Disney Company as the House of Mouse looks to let go of billions of dollars in assets.

RELATED: Disney Lists One-Third of the Company’s Assets As Iger Attempts to Balance the Books

Disney Shareholders | Who Owns The Most Shares of Disney?

Credit: Capital

Amid continuous speculation about how The Walt Disney Company will address its many financial woes, the name of yet another potential buyer for the company has emerged, according to Cord Cutter News. Verizon and Disney are reportedly in talks to discuss an acquisition by Verizon.

Apple, Inc. Says “No Thanks”

By the organization’s own admission, tech giant Apple isn’t interested in the acquisition of Disney. Talk of an Apple-Disney deal took root just days after Disney removed CEO Bob Chapek from his post and re-installed Bob Iger at the helm of the company in November 2022. Though Apple has the financial portfolio that supports such a deal entirely, Tim Cook, et al, simply don’t have their sights set on the Mouse.

disney castle and apple incorporated logo with no sign

Credit: JoBlo/Canva

The idea isn’t a new one, anyway. Talk of a Disney-Apple deal began more than a decade ago, as Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was also the co-founder of PIXAR Animation Studios and a close friend of Disney CEO Bob Iger. It’s possible that Steve Jobs’s untimely death ultimately blocked a deal between Disney and Apple more than a decade ago.

RELATED: Apple to Purchase Disney for $109 Billion. That’s If One High-Powered Analyst Has Her Way.

But recently, the idea of an acquisition of Walt’s 100-year-old company by private equity firm Blackstone has surfaced, and it’s a possible–if not plausible–future scenario, as Blackstone manages over $1 trillion in assets and has the financial strength to undertake such a deal. A pre-acquisition “test drive” may have already taken place, as Disney CEO Bob Iger recently called on two former Disney execs to help him solve yet another piece of the Disney financial downturn–former execs that have direct ties to the Blackstone Group and extensive knowledge about Disney’s business model and inner workings.

ESPN is Key

The Disney-owned ESPN+ streaming platform is one of the biggest thorns in Disney’s side at this time, and the company is desperate to find a way to address the issues with ESPN, whether that means sharing the burden or unloading it altogether.

Earlier this summer in an interview with CNBC, Iger said he is open to partnering with other companies in an effort to revive the ESPN streaming service. The situation is dire enough that Iger also said he would be open to selling ESPN to a third party. Since then, reports and speculation about potential third parties in a future ESPN deal have been plentiful. Major sports leagues like the NFL and MLB, as well as competitors like Comcast have been suggested partners or potential buyers.

major league sports logos

Credit: Johathan Haines/UX Planet

In a recently published article at The New York Post, media companies like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Verizon, and T-Mobile–among others–were named as those in talks with Disney related to a possible acquisition or partnership. The goal of such a move is reportedly for Disney to be able to take advantage of the technology owned by the tech giants to expand ESPN’s direct-to-consumer reach in streaming.

Now, Verizon and Disney have begun talks about a deal between Verizon and ESPN. Analysts say that such a deal could be beneficial–that Verizon could be the missing link at ESPN, as Verizon’s technology is stellar and could be just what the streaming service needs to roll out a possible bundle deal similar to a recent Disney+ deal offered to Verizon wireless customers.

It remains to be seen what Disney will ultimately decide about Verizon, especially when it’s taken into consideration that the House of Mouse has recently been in talks with the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, and Major League Baseball in regards to a possible joint ownership deal with Disney in the interest of the ESPN streaming service.

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!