Disney to Downsize: CEO Bob Iger Prepping to Sell Disney Entertainment

in Disney, Entertainment

Disney CEO Bob Iger on the right and Disney Image with Apple Logo on the left; Apple Partnership

Credit: Inside the Magic

Could we be watching Mickey Mouse on Apple TV soon?

Mickey Mouse sits on Walt Disney's shoulder
Credit: Disney

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Disney, a bastion of diverse content

In 1937, Walt Disney Pictures made history with the release of Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, their groundbreaking inaugural full-length animated feature film. This momentous achievement revolutionized the animation industry and firmly established The Walt Disney Company as a pioneering storyteller renowned for unmatched craftsmanship. Throughout a century of innovation, Disney’s influence has expanded exponentially, giving rise to a diverse library of creations. From the inception of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) within Marvel Studios, to captivating sci-fi/space opera adventures from Star Wars and Lucasfilm, to the visionary Avatar film franchise helmed by James Cameron, and the groundbreaking world of 3D animation pioneered by Pixar Animation Studios, Disney’s far-reaching impact has even led to the creation of its own dedicated streaming service, Disney+ (Disney Plus).

Star Wars content Disney
Credit: Inside The Magic

But The Walt Disney Company’s influence goes beyond the creation of iconic characters like Mickey Mouse. It extends to a globally acclaimed portfolio of international Theme Parks, including the original Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California, and the renowned Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, which encompasses the Magic Kingdom Park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Additionally, the enchantment expands to destinations like the Disneyland Paris Resort, the Tokyo Disney Resort, the Shanghai Disney Resort, and the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, captivating visiting Guests from around the world.

Beloved Disney characters Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Pluto, Chip, and Dale in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland
Credit: Disneyland Resort

The Disney media conundrum

After the internal Disney kerfuffle last year, when then-CEO Bob Chapek (himself Bob Iger’s successor) was ousted in favor of Bob Iger once again, the now-Disney head appears to be prepping the Company for some big changes.

While Chapek focused on the expansion of Disney’s media empire, through the significant building of their very own streaming service, Disney+, with a large slate of Disney+ Originals centered around Marvel Studios’ MCU and Lucasfilm’s Star Wars content, it seems that Iger is going to head in an almost opposite direction. With the mainline Star Wars movies on hiatus, and Kevin Feige significantly cutting back on Marvel Cinematic Universe outings (be it Marvel television or theatrical releases), Disney is looking at a rather different future.

De-aged Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'
Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm

Related: Apple in Talks to Purchase Significant Portion of Disney

Seeing as Hollywood is more or less on fire with the concurrent WGA (Writers Guild of America ) and SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) strikes, and reeling from some surprisingly poor box office performers like Disney’s recent Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023) and Warner Bros. Discovery’s DC Studios outings The Flash (2023), it feels like the film and television industry is on the edge of a precipice. Perhaps in response to these trends, or maybe in spite of them, it also appears that Disney CEO Iger is setting the company (and industry) up for some even bigger changes.

According to Bloomberg, Iger is “looking to downsize” after building one of the biggest media and entertainment companies in the world — and is prepping The Walt Disney Company for a “yard sale” of sorts in order to see it through.

'Jeopardy!' host Mayim Bialik holding the Final Jeopardy! card
Credit: ABC, YouTube

Previously, we reported on analyst discussions about the potential sale of a significant portion of Disney over to Apple.

Now, Iger has currently “put roughly a third of the company up for sale this week”, and declared “Disney’s linear TV assets noncore”.  This is inclusive of TV networks ABC, FX and Freeform. Meanwhile, Iger has also mentioned that the company is “looking for a strategic partner for sports channel ESPN” (although being unwilling to “sell the whole thing”. On top of all that, Disney is also “already looking to sell or restructure its TV and streaming business in India” — which is all extremely telling of the Disney CEO’s next move away from the seeming constant expansion of the Disney empire.

Interestingly, streaming rival Netflix has simultaneously reported its “best quarter of domestic growth in years”, with investors and analysts excited about the well-publicized (and publicly lamented) password-sharing crackdown — leading to the hopeful addition of more solo Netflix account sales.

Could Disney be sold to Apple?

Tony Stark Infinity War Stones death
Credit: Marvel

With Disney+’s rival to see a potential uptick in users, it’s no wonder that Iger is looking to make some big (albeit, surprising) moves. Bloomberg also reports that the “list of interested parties” for properties like ESPN would include tech giant Apple, with the added note that that have been many rumors about the possibility of Iger “selling all of Disney to Apple”:

Rumors have long swirled that Iger will end up selling all of Disney to Apple. It’s still hard to imagine Iger selling Disney to anyone. He was always a builder — not a seller. But Bob the builder is doing a lot more cutting this time around.

Nevertheless, we can only wait see what happens. The thought that “Bob the Builder” Iger could even be considering selling Disney is definitely a wild one — but apparently not out of the realm of possibility. Now, the question is whether Apple also wants to go to war with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

Do you think Bob Iger will sell Disney to Apple? What aspects of Disney Entertainment could go first in the “yard sale”? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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