The rumors are flying, and we’re here to shed light on why the speculation is gaining ground. A long-discussed perspective resurfaces in the corridors of Hollywood: the potential acquisition of Disney by Apple. Several recent clues and events suggest that this idea, once dismissed, might become a reality, as reported by the Hollywood Reporter.
Bob Iger and Disney’s future
Before Bob Iger, the current CEO of Disney, even mentioned that Disney’s linear television networks might no longer be essential to the company, a Hollywood veteran had already brought up the possibility of such an acquisition. There are clear signs that Bob Iger is preparing for a sale, especially with the potential to part with certain entities.
With a war chest of $62 billion in cash and a market capitalization of $2.8 trillion, Apple has the means to achieve its ambitions. Although the company has been hesitant to acquire a studio, it could be tempted by Disney, which remains the most valuable entertainment brand despite current challenges.The history between Apple and Disney is rich, with Steve Jobs having sat on Disney’s board until his death in 2011, and Iger joining Apple’s board shortly thereafter. These connections could facilitate a potential acquisition.
The entertainment industry is constantly evolving, and some anticipate a reduction in the number of major studios. If Iger shares this vision, finding a buyer for Disney could be an enticing option.
Several of Disney’s assets could be sold off, including linear television channels like Disney Channel, Disney Junior, and FX. A sale of operations in India, as well as the majority stake in Nat Geo and A+E Networks, could also be considered. According to some predictions, these assets could bring in up to $50 billion.
Some Wall Street analysts, such as Laura Martin of Needham & Co, have argued that Disney might be an acquisition target for Apple within the next three years. Acquiring Disney could also boost the adoption of Apple’s augmented reality technology, such as Vision Pro glasses. “Disney will be acquired within the next three years. If they don’t sell, Disney will be competing with tech companies (Apple, Amazon, etc.) in a sector where the economy is deteriorating, in our opinion,” believes Laura Martin, echoed by our colleagues.
Concerns of fans
Any deal between Disney and Apple would be closely examined by the Biden administration, which has been aggressive in its attempts to block major deals. However, recent cases like Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard could provide a roadmap for a possible transaction between Disney and a tech giant. Disney’s loyal fans, many of whom are shareholders, might be wary of a tech company’s commitment to Disney’s entertainment activities and theme parks. But with over 1.8 billion shares outstanding, and more than 60% of those shares held by institutional investors, fan opposition may not be enough to block a deal.
Bob Iger himself mentioned the possibility of a merger with Apple in his 2019 memoir. According to his words, if Steve Jobs were still alive, they would probably have discussed very seriously the combination of their companies. Overall, we see a unique alignment of forces and circumstances that could make an acquisition of Disney by Apple a plausible reality in the near future. Time will tell if this possibility will transform into reality, but the hypothesis is increasingly likely.
Old Rumors, New Evidence ?
It’s worth noting that the hypothesis of Disney being acquired by Apple is not new. In fact, these rumors have been circulating for several years, fueled by statements, strategic movements, and market analysis. However, despite all these signs and numerous discussions in financial and entertainment circles, so far, nothing concrete has emerged to transform these speculations into reality. Some might even argue that these rumors have become a kind of urban legend in the industry.
But with the recent accumulation of evidence and clues, the question forcefully arises again: are we on the dawn of a new era where this long-discussed alliance might finally see the light of day? The constantly changing landscape of entertainment and technology may well be the catalyst that turns these persistent rumors into a historic transaction.
Header Image Credit: Montage Tout Disney