A friend of Apple -- and Steve Jobs' pal -- is back at Disney

From the Wall Street Journal's "Robert Iger Returns as Disney CEO as Bob Chapek Is Ousted" in Monday's paper:

Walt Disney's board of directors on Sunday night replaced Chief Executive Bob Chapek with Robert Iger, the company’s former chairman and CEO who left the company at the end of last year, according to a company announcement...

The surprise change comes at a tumultuous time for Disney.

This month, the company reported weaker-than-expected fourth quarter financial results, killing the momentum built up over a strong year that saw record revenue and profits in multiple divisions, especially the one that includes theme parks. Disney’s theme park business has recovered strongly since the coronavirus pandemic shut down its venues across the world, but the division continues to subsidize widening losses in the streaming video business.

Mr. Chapek has said repeatedly that he expects the streaming business to be profitable by September 2024. In the most recent quarter, though, it lost $1.47 billion, more than twice the year-earlier loss.

The company also cautioned that its profitability target would only be met if there wasn’t a significant economic downturn, the first time it has added such a caveat. Disney’s stock price shot up 9% to over $100 a share in pre-market trading early Monday.

My take: It was to Iger's Disney that Jobs sold Pixar. And it was Iger who suggested that if Jobs had lived, Apple and Disney might have merged. I wonder, is Iger still interested in making that happen?

5 Comments

  1. Bart Yee said:
    I’m not sure about a merger but a strong collaboration between Apple and Disney wouldn’t be out of the question. It could be in both companies interests to pursue co-branding, complementary or joint projects, cross platform options, etc. I’m not sure which streaming platform makes sense – because even though Disney is #2, per Statista, Disney+ subscribers reached a new high of 164.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2022. Walt Disney’s combined direct-to-consumer subscriber count, including Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+, amounted to around 235.7 million, surpassing its competitor Netflix in terms of subscriptions. Now if they are losing $1.5B with that content catalog, live sports and Marvel, Pixar, and Disney programming, costs must be staggering or they are not asking enough. Apple pockets are much deeper though and they have a bigger revenue stream to withstand these losses.

    OTOH, dealing with Disney’s board, the Disney family, and finding the right management under a likely Apple top heavy arrangement could be difficult. Again, like an Apple social network, not sure this kind of major merger distraction would be worth it.

    1
    November 21, 2022
    • Gregg Thurman said:
      not sure this kind of major merger distraction would be worth it.

      Only if Apple owned enough DIS that it could tell the BoD, and the family, to bugger off. That would be a major distraction.

      0
      November 21, 2022
  2. Brian Loftus said:
    I don’t see the benefits of buying Disney. Very toxic culture was in progress. Not even buying ESPN makes sense – you can simply outbid them as their rights come due.

    1
    November 21, 2022
  3. The scrutiny of Microsoft’s $70 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard tell the story of what will happen when Apple announces it intends to acquire Mickey Mouse et al. MSFT is waiting for the deal to be approved in 16 countries. Content is king, no matter if it’s gaming or streaming TV.

    1
    November 21, 2022
  4. Robert Paul Leitao said:
    I just read a headline, “Iger will focus on shareholder value at Disney.” Yeah. Thank you, sir! Shareholders weren’t happy. Disney enthusiasts weren’t happy. Disney customers of all kinds weren’t happy. Who’s the one guy that can put the “happy” back into “The happiest place on earth”? Thanks for the “do over.” Now about that shocking increase in Disney+ subscription rates? Bob Iger knows if parents and grandparents are happy, shareholders will be happy, too. It’s time for Bob Iger to get back to work! Thank you, Disney! We could all use a little more happiness right now!

    1
    November 21, 2022

Leave a Reply