Is Apple Set To Buy ‘Micky Mouse Disney’ Streaming Assets
Speculation is emerging that Apple is running the ruler over Disney assets as the iPhone manufacturer looks to expand their streaming and content business across their global customer base.
Disney is desperate to downsize after splashing billions to buy streaming and content, while Apple is looking to expand their content with insiders tipping a major move on sport across multiple Countries.
ChannelNews understands that Disney CEO Bob Iger who was bought back to sort out major problems facing Disney, is keen to offloads assets and that Companies such as Apple, Google and Amazon are being described as perfect partners due to their content ambitions.
Bob Iger built Disney into the world’s most powerful entertainment company now he is tasked with rescuing the Micky Mouse brand.
Currently a third of Disney is up for sale including TV networks. The revelation made during a recent CBS interview forced Inger a former weatherman at the ABC network into “damage control” after spilling plans to possibly sell all or part of money-bleeding channels ABC and ESPN.
Disney’s traditional TV business “may not be core” to the entertainment giant Inger claimed last week and this set off speculation.
Iger told CNBC’s David Faber that he was considering selling some of Disney’s TV channels, as well as selling a stake in ESPN.
Iger’s remarks are being described by Disney insiders as being “undisciplined”, with his comments sending “shock waves” through Disney, which along with ABC and ESPN also owns FX and National Geographic.
Apple has a massive global customer based with analyst claiming that “Apple will not buy Disney” “What they could end up doing is cutting a deal to partner exclusively with Apple to deliver content in particular sporting and movie content”.
Many believe that a relationship with Apple makes sense as consumers ditch live TV for streaming.
“Apple has the audience and the streaming gear spanning iPhones tablets and Mac PC’s, Disney has the content and the ability to generate content” said one observer.
It now appears that Disney is open to selling or spinning off Disney’s cable networks.
He claimed that he has already had discussions with potential investors about buying a minority stake in ESPN, with insiders tipping Apple as the potential investor.
Iger initially said Disney’s traditional TV business “may not be core” to the entertainment giant.
After coming under pressure for his comments he later back tracked claiming that ABC News “It’s important to this company,”.
“We need to figure out how it makes the transition into streaming. And I happen to believe we will endure. It’s too good, it’s too important, and it’s really fun.”
Sources told The New York Post that Iger’s comments, while reassuring, did not extinguish fears at the company.
Another Disney source told The Post that even though Iger is tamping down fears, he knows the writing is already on the wall for linear TV at the media giant.
Before the pandemic, Disney’s media networks generated 35%, or $24.8 billion, of company revenue and more than 50%, or $7.5 billion, of its operating income.
The accelerating decline of cable TV and in Australia free to air TV is causing problems with organisations such as the Seven Network struggling to find a clear way through their problems as consumer move to streaming networks such as Foxtel and Kayo as well as Stan.
He thought he’d solved this problem with Disney+ and Hulu, his two mass-market streaming services. But his streaming business is expected to register a loss of about $800 million in the company’s just-ended third quarter.
Management chased streaming subscribers at unsustainably low prices to goose the launch of Disney+ in 2019 and is now seeking to raise prices without alienating customers.
Disney+ lost 4 million subscribers last quarter while Netflix picked six million new subscribers.
Iger put the for-sale sign during an interview with CNBC in Sun Valley, Idaho, home to an annual summit of the media and tech elite organized by the investment bank Allen & Co. The CEO of Apple Tim Cook attend the event.
The conference has long served as an incubator for some of the media industry’s most high-profile deals.
As of January 2024, Disney is contractually obligated to buy Comcast one-third stake in Hulu in a deal that would value the business at least at $27.5 billion.
It’s also wrestling with a colossal debt pile stemming from its $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox in 2019.
A sale of the TV business could fetch around $8 billion, according to Wells Fargo analyst Steve Cahall — which would largely offset the cost of acquiring the piece of Hulu it doesn’t yet own.
Iger came back to Disney last November a conquering hero eager to rescue the company from the era of Bob Chapek (his successor and predecessor).
After receiving a two-year contract extension last week, Iger has three more years to clean up a big mess that also includes a slowdown in the company’s theme-park business, a series of misses for the company’s film division and the strike by Hollywood actors and writers against all of the media companies.
Rumours have long swirled that Iger will end up selling all of Disney’s content to Apple.