2022 has been a year for the record books for The Walt Disney Company, and not in a good way. 2023 is starting to look like it will be just as wild of a roller coaster ride for the Theme Park and entertainment goliath.
With Bob Iger’s return as CEO and Bob Chapek’s departure from The Walt Disney Company, there have been many rumors and predictions about what Iger will do to get Disney back on track. Speculations have come from many notable organizations, entertainment executives, and former Disney Insiders.
The latest prediction about what Disney CEO Bob Iger will do has come from an analyst with Well Fargo Securities and involves Disney Media and Disney Television Studios. In an investor memo released yesterday, Wells Fargo stock market analyst Steve Cahall highlighted the bank’s top predictions for the media business in 2023 and made a bold call concerning the future of ESPN and ABC under Bob Iger’s leadership at Disney.
In the note, Cahall writes that “Disney will begin the spinoff process for ESPN and ABC, including launching ESPN in streaming a la carte. Cost rationalization and balance sheet options are critical to reaching this outcome. The result is a better-off remaining Walt Disney Company.”
Whether or not Disney should consider spinning off the popular sports network has been a year-long discussion among Wall Street investors. The idea had picked up a lot of momentum earlier this year after Third Point’s Dan Loeb sent a letter to the company urging an ESPN spinoff. In his note to then Disney CEO Bob Chapek, he had argued ESPN would have greater flexibility to pursue business initiatives, such as sports betting if it were not part of Disney.
No matter what materializes in 2023, it is clear that Disney CEO Bob Iger has a lot to accomplish during his second stint as the company leader. Only time will tell to see what happens with ESPN and ABC.
What are your thoughts on Disney potentially spinning off ABC and ESPN? We would love to hear your opinion.