Bob Iger Calls Disney “Beachfront Property,” Says It Doesn’t Matter How It’s Monetized

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Bob Iger standing by a stone archway with a view of a fairytale castle in the distance.

Credit: Inside the Magic

Disney CEO Bob Iger just recently survived an attempt to oust him from his leadership of the company by activist investors who claimed he didn’t respect the Mouse’s storied legacy. It is pretty shocking that he is now openly describing Disney as “beachfront property” to be monetized in any way possible.

Mickey Mouse with Bob Iger at Disneyland
Credit: Inside the Magic

Bob Iger stepped down as chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company in 2020, after leading the world’s most iconic media corporation to unparalleled rights through the very risky acquisition of IP banks like Marvel Studios, Pixar Studios, Lucasfilm, and 21st Century Fox (which was rebranded as 20th Century Studios).

The crown was passed to Disney Parks, Experiences and Products chairman Bob Chapek; however, in a retroactive harbinger of things to come, Iger reportedly still struggled to maintain creative control of the company through 2021 and fought for the rights to (of all things) an executive bathroom.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit Disney hard in the gross revenues, as it did all its peers in the entertainment industry. Bob Chapek was already being perceived as steering the company into dangerous waters when he publicly took a stance against the Parental Rights in Education Act, a controversial piece of legislation heavily promoted by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis as part of his “anti-woke” image.

Bob Iger and Ron DeSantis
Credit: Inside the Magic

Related: Report: Even Disney CEO Bob Iger Hates Tiana’s Bayou Adventure

Long story short, Chapek was dismissed by the Disney board, Bob Iger was brought back, and, after a solid year of extremely vicious lawsuits, things seem to have settled down between the Mouse and Ron DeSantis.

An attempt to seize control of The Walt Disney Company board of directors by activist investor/billionaire Nelson Peltz was allegedly funded in large part by former Marvel chief Ike Perlmutter, who is said to hold a grudge against Iger in particular.

Ultimately, Bob Iger was able to shake the accusations that he was disgracing the legacy of Walt Disney by steering the company into family-unfriendly waters (read: LGBTQIA+ representation) and would drive the company to financial ruin. In the end, the attacks on Bob Iger boiled down to two things: he didn’t respect the company enough and he wasn’t making enough money for investors.

A recent Forbes feature may add a little credibility to those accusations, as Bob Iger is extensively quoted as viewing Disney and its IP as, essentially, real estate to be flipped in any method possible.

The article largely concerns Gerry Cardinale of Redbird Capital Partners, an investment firm with over $10 billion under management. As appears to be the wont of investment billionaires these days (see above: Nelson Peltz), Cardinale wants to become a media mogul and is actively attempting to purchase a controlling interest in one of Disney’s prime rivals, Paramount Global.

Bob Iger speaking at a podium against a blue-lit backdrop.
Credit: Disney

In the kind of corporate cooperation that currently sees Disney teaming up with Warner Bros. Discovery for a streaming bundle and Netflix, Apple, and NBC Universal to do that same, Gerry Cardinale apparently sought out the head of his prospective chief rival competitor, Bob Iger for advice.

According to CEO Bob Iger, “I was enamored with [Cardinale’s] curiosity—and with what he already seemed to know…There are people in the banking world and the investment community that you have to teach. He comes to the table having already learned it.”

Related: CEO Bob Iger Approves Controversial 2024 Disney Parks Expansion

Disney CEO Bob Iger looking worried in front of the Walt Disney Company building.
Credit: Inside The Magic

Regardless of that, it appears that one of Iger’s chief tips to Cardinale was to treat your company like valuable property to be leveraged in any way possible. Iger said, “He gets the fact that great IP is the equivalent of beachfront property. He knows that the world is in need of entertainment, and regardless of the means in which they get it, or how it’s monetized, there’s real value to it, and it’s long-term.”

Realistically, it cannot be denied that The Walt Disney Company is, in the end, a for-profit company, and Bob Iger has a fiduciary duty to make as much money as possible for its shareholders.

But the executive has been steadily building a reputation as a cold and distant businessman in recent days, describing his own workers as “troubling” and “unrealistic” and implying that Walt Disney would have been on-board with replacing writers and artists with AI.

Given that Disney has to work very hard to maintain its fuzzy and wholesome image these days, it might not be the best thing to describe it as a piece of “beachfront property” that you need to squeeze for all the profit possible.

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