Bob Iger On Reports That Apple Could Buy Disney - "It's Not Something We Obsess About"

Bob Iger On Reports That Apple Could Buy Disney - "It's Not Something We Obsess About"

A speculative report emerged today that Disney could be acquired by Apple, and thanks to today's 3Q earnings call, Bob Iger was able to immediately respond.

By MarkJulian - Aug 09, 2023 07:08 PM EST
Filed Under: Disney

Disney being acquired by Apple is a topic that emerges almost every year and owes its roots to the simple fact that Disney was the first company to make its television shows and movies available on iTunes. 

Yes, going as far back as 2005, there have been reports that Disney could sell a majority interest to Apple. 

The latest round of speculation stems from the fact that Iger recently stated that Disney is looking to divest itself of assets like ABC, ESPN, FX, and Freeform.

The company is also reportedly looking to jettison the India-based Hotstar portion of Disney+, which recently lost streaming rights to cricket.  It's reported that nearly a third of Disney Plus' total subscribers are based in India, and that the subscribers in that region primarily signed up to watch cricket.

What all these assets have in common is that they're money-losers for Disney, which led to a recent comment from Iger that "[linear TV] may not be core to Disney."

However, Wall Street analysts are keen to view any sort of wholesale or partial sell-offs as signs that a major corporation is gearing up to be acquired. Yet, it may not be that simple in Disney's case.

If you dig deeper into the company's earnings, they definitely overspent on Disey+ under previous CEO Bob Chapek's reign. Combined with lower box office revenue this past year, it was largely revenue from the theme parks and merchandising that kept the company afloat. Selling off negative assets is likely more about moving the needle on the company's bottom line and less about gearing up to be acquired.

On today's earnings call, Bob Iger responded to the article from THR, referring to it as speculation.

"I just am not going to speculate about the potential for Disney to be acquired by any company, whether they’re a technology company or not,” Iger told investors on the call. “Obviously anyone who wanted to speculate about such things would have to immediately consider the global regulatory environment. I’ll say no more than that. It’s just, it’s not something that we obsess about."

What are your thoughts on Apple acquiring Disney? Do you think that would hurt or harm the output of Star Wars, Marvel, and animation projects? Disney purists (specifically theme park fans) have long been outraged by the mere notion, pointing to the fact that Walt Disney would never entertain selling the company.

Ironically, this all brings to mind a scene from Batman Begins when Rutger Hauer's William Earle uttered the line, "I think, after 20 years, we can allow ourselves to stop thinking about what Thomas Wayne would have done. Thomas would probably not have taken the company public, but that is what we, as responsible managers, are going to do."

Do you think it's time Disney should stop asking themselves what would Walt do, and start thinking about what's best for the company's future?

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Origame - 8/9/2023, 7:44 PM
Bob iger saw Rachel Zeigler on the picket line and went...

Usernametaken - 8/9/2023, 7:44 PM
they've gotten way too big. We need a new set of anti trust rules for mega corporations like this.

And not just disney of course.
TheHumanSpider2 - 8/9/2023, 8:02 PM
@Usernametaken - Fox's acquisitions shouldnt've never been allowed...but Bobby was friends with the White House, so...
Drace24 - 8/9/2023, 8:08 PM
@TheHumanSpider2 - Are you even aware when you are lying?
Usernametaken - 8/9/2023, 8:23 PM
@TheHumanSpider2 - I always opposed the Disney acquisition, they wanted the marvel stuff. Fine.

But the rest? Avatar, Alien, predator, the Simpsons, Futurama and so on, that was just crazy to allow them that much power in the industry.
bl0odwerk - 8/9/2023, 8:01 PM
I'd rather Apple be in crontrol of all the shit than Disney. Disney sucks.
TheHumanSpider2 - 8/9/2023, 8:02 PM
Yup, they are, at the very least, in advanced talks.
DarthOmega - 8/9/2023, 8:03 PM
Back when SNL was still watchable, the great Robert Smigel wrote this sketch. Everyday it's proven to be more and more correct. Soon there will be like 3 companies owning everything. Including government.

DarthOmega - 8/9/2023, 8:05 PM
@DarthOmega - By the way this sketch only aired once and was pulled from reruns and syndication.
SonOfAGif - 8/9/2023, 8:07 PM
It's funny how rather than sell off franchises, companies, and characters that Disney has under their umbrella, He would rather sell the entire company. For example they could have sold ESPN to Apple, Predator, Alien, and other adult characters to Comcast. They could make Disney+ an integration with cable companies. I don't get why it's so complicated to admit "We f***ed up. We got too big and too costly and we regret it. So we are going to sell off multiple properties to lower our costs and offset them and we will not be buying anymore companies unless it makes sense"
MarkJulian - 8/9/2023, 8:21 PM
@SonOfAGif - Thats what they’re doing. They’re looking to sell ABC, FX, Freeform and bring in a partner for ESPN.
Drace24 - 8/9/2023, 8:25 PM
@SonOfAGif - Because that would not be remotely accurate? Disney IS just selling tiny parts they don't need. That's currently happening as part of their cost cutting initiative to get over Covid. Iger is literally saying he is NOT thinking about selling the company here. But who cares, everyone just makes up their own narrative anyway. People are [frick]ing weird when it comes to Disney.
Drace24 - 8/9/2023, 8:18 PM
It's not because of Walt. It's about the lengths the company has gone to to protect its independence for literally a century now. Especially Bob Iger. Everyone with a rudimentary understanding of Disney history can tell you that giving up its autonomy is something they have always fought tooth and nail against. Realistically, no matter what you think about their recent movies, Disney is just not remotely in a position so bad that it would suddenly need to sell.

And such a merger would most likely not even be allowed. Why are we even talking about this? People speculated about Apple buying Disney since the Pixar acquisition and it was never even remotely accurate.
NinnesMBC - 8/9/2023, 8:31 PM
IDK if quoting that guy, William Earle, is exactly wise considering he was like the villain of the Wayne Enterprises part of the story and also Lucius Fox's who in the end got fired for trying to outsmart him. Dude always gave me lowkey vibes of being some kind of under cover League of Shadows member. :P

I think Disney just needs to slow down a little in the pace and recalibrate a new strategy. But once after Iger gets off his ass and starts paying fairly his writers and actors and that includes to stop removing original content fom Disney+, pulling a Zaslav isn't gonna do him any kind of favours.
TheShape9859 - 8/9/2023, 8:40 PM
"On today's earnings call, Bob Chapek responded to the article from THR, referring to it as speculation." He did?? Really?? I didn't think Chapek would have much of a say if any at all 😒😒😒
Fares - 8/9/2023, 8:53 PM
They're talking

grif - 8/9/2023, 9:18 PM
why is this news? who cares?
AmazingFILMporg - 8/9/2023, 9:21 PM

Feralwookiee - 8/9/2023, 9:27 PM
"It's reported that nearly a third of Disney Plus' total subscribers are based in India, and that the subscribers in that region primarily signed up to watch cricket."
-I don't know exactly why, but this gave me a good laugh! 🤣

SATW42 - 8/9/2023, 9:43 PM
It’s almost like someone laid out this whole article in the comments section of the Apple Disney article earlier today… who was that? Anyone know?
SpiderParker - 8/9/2023, 9:52 PM
Companies half as big as Disney will probably be bought off for the millionth time before Disney decides to get out of the monopoly game.

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