Since the announcement of The Walt Disney Company’s return of CEO Bob Iger and the ousting of former CEO Bob Chapek, the rumor mill has begun spinning at warp speed.
Following Bob Iger’s return, speculation immediately ensued that the newly re-appointed CEO would attempt to sell Disney to Apple. Additional commentary followed, with many wondering if ESPN would finally be spun off. And then, investors on Wall Street started to question what the future would look like for general entertainment streaming service Hulu and if The Walt Disney Company would finally go through the previously agreed purchase from Comcast/Universal.
Bob Iger is the king of deal-making. In his first go-around as CEO of The Walt Disney Company, he oversaw the transactions of many different mega franchises, including Marvel Studios, LucasFilm, Pixar, and 21st Century Fox.
During a November 28 town hall, Iger told employees that the idea that another megadeal is currently not in the cards for Disney. Iger said, “We have a great set of assets here,” in the announcement to Cast Members. “Nothing is forever, but I am very, very comfortable with each of the assets that we have,” he added, categorically denying the idea that Disney could be sold to Apple by saying it was “pure speculation.”
With Bob Iger’s commentary from late last month, the idea that any significant transaction will take place soon has been shot down for the short term.
With all of this being said, here are some deals that Disney and Iger’s team should consider pursuing in the future:
- Selling Hulu to Comcast – Disney’s general entertainment arm, Hulu, would likely start a bidding war if it were to be put on the open market and help Disney raise some much-needed cash as the company seeks to cut costs. Brian Roberts, Comcast’s CEO, has recently intimated that they would be interested in a Hulu acquisition, describing Hulu as a “phenomenal business” that would trigger a “robust auction” from parties that would include Comcast if it were put up for sale.
- Disney Spins Off ESPN – Sports at ESPN could be considered a rental for Disney. Even though ESPN provides Disney with a ton of cash (Disney’s “linear networks,” including ESPN, had $8.5 billion in profits last year), linear TV is in a secular downtrend. The company needs to invest in the future, and the end is not an expensive linear TV channel whose prominent rights could all be poached by giant tech companies in a few years.
- Disney Sells to Apple – Disney Plus is growing slowly, hurting the company’s bottom line. A sale to Apple offers a quick fix to all of Disney’s problems. The synergies between Apple and Disney could be a money printing machine as more than a billion devices are currently being used worldwide, where its content would be integrated and boosted.
- Disney Buys A Metaverse Gaming Company – Despite all of Disney’s intellectual property, the company has continuously failed at self-publishing games. Buying an existing, popular platform could help Disney’s gaming ambitions and drive additional revenues. This will be vital as Disney pursues a strategy to take advantage of fast-moving virtual and augmented reality trends.
These are just some of the deals considered as Bob Iger returns to his post as Disney CEO. As we move into 2023, it will certainly be interesting to see what Iger decides to do to help position Disney for the future.
Which deal do you think Bob Iger should pursue? Let us know your thoughts by leaving us a comment below.