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  • Writer's pictureGotta Go Orlando

Is Bob Iger’s End Game To Sell The Disney Kingdom To Apple?

As the dust finally settles on the boardroom moves at Disney that shocked the world, Bob Iger is now seen as the returning hero, the man with the Midas touch, from his visionary purchases of Marvel and Star Wars to the takeover of the Fox empire, some of the most valuable franchises in the entertainment business, Iger has proved it all already, and surely will do so once more?

But, as Iger settles back into the top job at Disney for the second time, he faces an in-tray overflowing with problems that require urgent attention.

And while the overwhelming majority of commentators are hailing Iger return as a stroke of genius, could or should the move to bring back the boomerang CEO be seen as a failure in leadership on Iger's part or the boards for choosing Bob Chapek as Iger's replacement in the first place?

In his favour, Iger is highly thought of among investors, content creators and consumers, he will carry a certain amount of goodwill as he looks to fix Disney's growing problems.

However, we must remember that Iger isn’t a forever solution. Iger is only here for two years, and already there is rumblings about his successor only days into his tenure.

The problem is that many spectators say that there’s such a dearth of internal talent within Disney that there’s no one else to fill the spot, and with only two years to find a replacement, is Iger not looking for a replacement?

Is the real reason that Iger has returned to Disney, to actually sell the company??

Is Bob Iger’s End Game To Sell The Disney Kingdom To Apple

According to a new article in The Wrap it could well be the reason he has returned!

The article claims that insiders suspect they know how the beloved executive will find a new way to go out on top during his final two-year stint.

“He’s going to sell the company,” one Disney insider who has worked for Iger predicted. “This is the pinnacle deal for the ultimate dealmaker.”

Yes, speculation is back that he could cement his legacy with a sale to Apple, or any other company that happens to have mega cash to splash!

Apple is a company that has long been associated with Iger, who was a close friend of Steve Jobs, co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple prior to his 2011 death.

And when Iger brokered the deal for Disney to buy Pixar from Steve Jobs in 2006, Jobs became a major shareholder in Disney.

Iger also served on the Apple Board of Directors from 2011 to 2019, joining a month after Jobs died.

Jobs and Iger were friends, with Iger believing that Apple and Disney could have merged in the past.

In his autobiography, “The Ride of a Lifetime,” he said, “I believe that if Steve were still alive, we would have combined our companies, or at least discussed the possibility very seriously.”

He again double down on his belief that Apple and Disney would have eventually merged under Steve Jobs in an interview with CNBC only last December.

Is Bob Iger’s End Game To Sell The Disney Kingdom To Apple

Apple makes sense as a buyer, especially as Disney has a product that Apple would love to get its hands on... namely Disney+

In three years, Disney+ has acquired over 164 million subscribers, add in ESPN and Hulu and the figure is more than Netflix in total subscribers, and these are huge numbers Apple can only dream of for its contentless Apple TV+

Only this past April, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an investor call that Apple “would not rule out acquiring a large company” and that “the main drive was to secure strong intellectual property and big names.”

Following the launch of Disney+ and Apple TV+, Iger departed Apple’s board of directors in 2019.

The Disney CEO is said to have a friendly relationship with Apple CEO Tim Cook, but the competitive aspect of the two streaming services likely forced Iger to take a step back.

In a 2019 interview with CNBC, Iger said, “I think Tim has done a great job. And no matter what direction you look, no matter how you point, I think you conclude that that company is one of the great companies in the world.”

So all in all, a deal between The Walt Disney Company and Apple makes sense, and would of course secure Iger’s legacy as the man ho could buy and sell the highest of profile companies in the world.

The Wrap quoted a former top Disney executive, "I think he would welcome it — he would be the last CEO of Disney,’ noting that the two companies have a ‘similar brand identity’ and could benefit from a merger.”

The article in The Wrap went on to say that although there are many positives with a Disney and Apple sale/merger, there would be roadblocks that could make the deal potentially difficul, especially from regulators. “A deal of that size is likely to attract stiff antitrust resistance at a moment when regulators have stepped up efforts to block other recently proposed media mega deals.” Deals like the proposed merger of publishing giants Simon & Schuster and Penguin Books as well as Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard are drawing harsh regulator attention.

Obviously this is all speculation, but the road ahead for Disney is going to be a bumpy ride, especially in the short term, but as spectators on the sidelines it will be an interesting journey to watch, and to see if the final destination will take Disney to Apple's door.

Whatever happens we wish Bob Iger good luck, and we wish him well in helping solve the problems that so many believe Bob Chapek created.

Watch this space...

Is Bob Iger’s End Game To Sell The Disney Kingdom To Apple


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