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Move Over Apple: $1 TRILLION Company Showing Interest in Buying Disney

Blackstone Might Buy Disney

On August 9, The Walt Disney Company held its third-quarter earnings call, led by CEO Bob Iger. Overall, Wall Street was torn on just how well the earnings call went. On the positive, Disney’s global theme parks performed well, Disneyland Resort in California had an uptick in Guest attendance, and Iger was continuing to save the company money with budget cuts. On the flip side, Walt Disney World Resort did not perform as well, with Iger citing higher operating costs and lower attendance. There was also the $250 million loss that is the failed Galactic Starcruiser experience.

Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Dining

Credit: Disney

Iger returned as CEO of The Walt Disney Company in 2022, when Bob Chapek was fired after less than three years of holding the CEO position. Since his return, Iger has struggled to make the company what it once was. He is also struggling with his image among Disney fans. Iger was incredibly popular during his first run as CEO. However, with massive budget cuts, thousands of layoffs, increasing prices, and film flop after film flop, Disney fans aren’t as adoring of Iger or Disney as they once were.

Disney CEO Bob Iger

Credit: Thomas Hawk, Flickr

With all the struggles Disney has been facing, rumors that Iger is planning on selling the company have been popping up left and right. Most of the stories center on Iger selling Disney to Apple — Iger and Apple CEO Tim Cook have been friends for decades. However, Iger’s recent new hires (rehires, really), have some speculating that another company may be interested. A company whose mergers and acquisitions total more than $1 trillion.

In late July, Iger brought back two former Disney executives to assist him as “consultants.” Those two former executives were Tom Staggs — former COO — and Kevin Mayer — a former Executive Vice President. Staggs and Mayer are currently serving as co-CEOs of Candle Media, a company that is owned by Blackstone Group, a large investment management company.

Tom Staggs

Credit: Disney

The return of Staggs and Mayer to consultant roles has led to speculation that Blackstone Group may be interested in purchasing large parts of Disney. Mayer was one of the key players during Disney’s acquisition phase and was responsible for the House of Mouse purchasing Pixar, Marvel, and LucasFilm. That means that Mayer knows how to play the mergers and acquisitions game. And who better to play it with than Disney’s former COO?

Bob Iger had been open about the fact that Disney is looking for a “strategic partner” to help run ESPN. He has also indicated that Disney would not be opposed to selling its linear networks, like ABC. Linear networks have been struggling to maintain profit margins because of the decrease in the use of cable and in increased use of streaming.

ESPN NFL

Credit: ESPN

Should Blackstone make a deal with Disney to have a controlling interest in ESPN, ABC, and Disney’s other linear networks, that would give Blackstone ownership of about one-third of the studio giant. If Disney continues to struggle, it could essentially be easier for Blackstone to pick up the company piece by piece.

This is, of course, all speculation at this point. During the earnings call, Iger was asked about the possibility of selling Disney to Apple or to another company. Iger said that he would not comment on selling the company as a whole and reiterated that he was looking at all options Disney had.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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