A rising number of current and former Disney executives are speaking out in private about their perception that Bob Iger, the former CEO of Disney, has a long-standing goal of holding onto the CEOship for as long as possible before arranging Disney’s merger with tech behemoth Apple. Iger’s past close cooperation with Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs, as well as his own remarks regarding a possible merger between the two businesses, are the sources of this conjecture.
Disney’s Trailblazing Leadership under Iger:
During his time as CEO of Disney, Bob Iger created history by leading acquisitions that had a profound impact, like the $7.4 billion acquisition of Pixar in 2006. Iger and Steve Jobs became closer friends as a result of this historic agreement, which went beyond just business.
A Bond That Goes Beyond Business:
Bob Iger talked about his friendship with Steve Jobs in an excerpt from his memoir that was published by Vanity Fair. He highlighted their same interests, trips together, and regular discussions about Apple, Disney, and their possible future partnerships. This strong personal relationship has stoked rumors about Iger’s intentions to combine Disney and Apple.
Previous Hypotheses and Iger’s Vision:
Because of Iger’s words in his memoir, analysts have long conjectured about the prospect of a Disney-Apple combination. He pointed out that they probably would have looked into the possibility of merging their businesses if Steve Jobs had been around. However, given the growing scrutiny of Big Tech and antitrust issues, such a merger might provide regulatory challenges in addition to being large in scale.
Obstacles and Regulatory Restrictions:
Apple’s infrequent history of significant purchases along with government concerns about IT industry mergers could work against Iger’s plan. Iger does, however, have time on his side because his Disney CEO contract has been extended to 2026, which represents the fifth postponement of his departure.
Iger’s Comeback and Reorganization:
After retiring in 2020, Iger came back to Disney in November and launched a $5.5 billion cost-cutting initiative that involved reorganization across the board and layoffs. Additionally, he has made references to the potential sale of non-Disney properties, such as ESPN and ABC.
Investigating Novel Approaches:
Iger’s remarks suggest that he is open to considering different tactics, like finding ESPN a strategic partner and possibly selling off ABC. Disney is allegedly thinking about new approaches for its linear television brands, which are struggling with the effects of cord-cutting trends and dwindling viewership.