No One Is Coming To Save The Walt Disney Company

Tech companies not buying Disney
Disney CEO Bob Iger and his Apple dreams. Credit: Disney

Disney CEO Bob Iger had a pretty good week. Sure, it wasn’t the great news that he hoped to give Wall Street and Disney shareholders, but based on the negative stories surrounding the Walt Disney Company, decent news is a step in the right direction. And with that, Iger can say that Disney is in “a new era.” 

Time for Iger to fix Disney

Bob Iger has a lot on his mind. Credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr/ Disney

But despite the good week, there are still several outstanding issues that Iger still has to solve. The announcement that ESPN will be transitioning to a subscription streaming service and the combination of Disney Plus and Hulu shows that Disney’s focus is moving away from over-the-air television networks to focus on its streaming business.

Disney has already received offers for ABC, but there are still questions about Disney’s other networks and its film business that were left unanswered by Iger. But he always had an ace in his back pocket that he hoped to play, and it appears that what Iger believed was his ace was just a joker.

Stories have been swirling in Wall Street circles that Apple or another tech firm would swoop in to purchase Disney’s streaming services and ESPN. The Apple connection made perfect sense. Iger and Apple Founder Steve Jobs were close, and Jobs sold Pixar to Iger and Disney.

Disney CEO Bob Iger, Steve Jobs

Left: Disney CEO Bob Iger, Right: Former CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs / Credit: nagi usano, Flickr/ David Geller, Flickr

Beyond just the personal connection, analysts speculated that Apple needs Disney’s content for its Apple Vision Plus. This would allow users to access Disney’s intellectual properties and make Apple the world’s largest tech/media conglomerate.

And then there’s the cash. Apple’s latest filing shows it has $162.1 billion in cash. It just happens that it was enough to purchase the entire Walt Disney Company. So, with so many signs pointing to Apple purchasing at least a portion of the Walt Disney Company, what could stop this super-merger? Apparently, quite a bit.

Apple-Disney Merger Not Happening

Former Disney executive Kevin Mayer, who recently returned to the company to help Bob Iger with asset sales, the acquisition of Hulu, and ESPN’s future, told a Yahoo Finance forum that an Apple/Disney merger would not happen.

Mayer said: 

Those cultural mismatches make buyers nervous. Whenever these big digital companies do almost anything, the regulatory scrutiny is massive.

Apple has no experience with the creative teams that help to make Disney’s television shows and movies. And then there are the Disney Parks around the world. Apple has no experience running a theme park the size of Walt Disney World in Central Florida.

Iger bringing back Staggs/Mayer

Kevin Mayer, Bob Iger, and Tom Staggs. Credit: Disney

And then there are the regulatory concerns. The Federal and State Governments are leery of giving tech companies too much power, and a merger like this would give Apple unprecedented power in multiple industries.

Disney and Apple must look at the merger between AT&T and Time Warner to see how poorly a media/tech relationship can be. With billions of dollars at stake, all signs point to Apple avoiding the Walt Disney Company.

Disney will just have to realize the dream of being saved by a tech company just isn’t going to happen. The problems of the Mouse House are theirs to solve.

We will continue to update this story at Disney Fanatic.

About Rick

Rick is an avid Disney fan. He first went to Disney World in 1986 with his parents and has been hooked ever since. Rick is married to another Disney fan and is in the process of turning his two children into fans as well. When he is not creating new Disney adventures, he loves to watch the New York Yankees and hang out with his dog, Buster. In the fall, you will catch him cheering for his beloved NY Giants.

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