Apple Buying Disney: Insiders believe they know how Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, will find a fresh way to go out on top during his final two years now that he has reclaimed control of the company less than three years after he handed it off to Bob Chapek, his handpicked successor.
One of Iger’s former employees at Disney has said, “He’s going to sell the company.” This is the deal of a lifetime for the master negotiator. Iger’s legacy may be solidified further by sealing a deal with Apple (or another mega buyer).
A former top Disney executive told TheWrap that the two firms had “similar brand identities” and might profit from a merger, and that “he would embrace it – he’d be the final CEO of Disney.” Iger was born with an acquisitive nature.
Under Iger’s leadership, Disney spent roughly $100 billion acquiring animation powerhouse Pixar in 2006, superhero juggernaut Marvel in 2009, “Star Wars” powerhouse Lucasfilm in 2012, and Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox in 2019.
But there was one merger he openly lamented as a game-changer that was missed: a tie-up with Apple. Several parts of Iger’s 2019 autobiography, “The Ride of a Lifetime,” focus on the executive’s time spent with Steve Jobs as a buddy.
He and his wife, Willow Bay, were good friends with Steve and Laurene Powell Jobs, and they all went on a trip to Hawaii together. Even standing at Steve Jobs’ tomb, he recounts how the late tech pioneer’s widow said, “I asked him if we could trust you.
Steve then remarked, “I love that guy.” Iger says, “The sentiment was returned”. Yes, there are limitations, the most significant of which is Jobs’ death in 2011. And with a market value of $180 billion, an acquisition of Disney would result in a hefty premium of almost $200 billion.
At a time when regulators have ramped up their attempts to thwart other recently proposed media megadeals, a deal of that size is likely to elicit significant antitrust resistance. This week, a federal judge rejected Paramount Global’s $2 billion sale of its Simon & Schuster subsidiary to book publishing giant Penguin Random House, while European regulators are looking into Microsoft‘s $69 million plan to purchase gaming giant Activision Blizzard.
Apple CEO Tim Cook is a renowned safe bet, having made few acquisitions during his tenure as CEO. In April, he may have dropped a major signal to Wall Street. On a conference call with investors, Cook indicated he was open to buying a huge company if it meant getting their hands on some valuable IP or a well-known brand.
— Screen Rant (@screenrant) March 17, 2020
To acquire intellectual property and bring in new expertise, “we are continuously looking for companies to buy,” Cook said. If a chance at something bigger comes up, we won’t pass it up. On this call, I won’t be sharing my entire list with you, but know that we are actively seeking.
Apple, which has been testing the waters for a streaming grab with blockbusters like “Ted Lasso,” undoubtedly has the financial firepower to carry out an acquisition of this extent. The Cupertino-based corporation has a $48.3 billion cash reserve, despite the fact that borrowing costs are increasing as a result of rising interest rates.
When you add in assets and cash, the sum jumps to almost $200 billion. That amounts to 7.4 per cent of all the crazy money owned by the companies in the S&P 500. In addition, Apple’s stock price has risen dramatically because of Iger and Jobs’s collaboration.
“Landing a deal with Apple (or some other megabuyer) would also cement Iger’s legacy. I think he’d welcome it; he’d be the last CEO of Disney,” a former top Disney executive told @TheWrap.”https://t.co/XSX30feHUO
— Scott Gustin (@ScottGustin) November 22, 2022
When Disney paid $7.4 billion for Pixar in 2006, putting Jobs in charge of the animation firm, Jobs was automatically appointed to Disney’s 10-person board of directors. Apple’s stock price was around $3 on the day the deal was announced, while Disney’s was around $25.
Over the past five years, Apple’s stock price has increased by 238%, reaching $150 per share. Disney stock has decreased by 6%, to $96, within the same time frame.