In a move worthy of HBO’s TV show hit Succession, Disney announced late on Sunday that Bob Iger is replacing Chapek as CEO. Chapek was the CEO of Disney for nearly three years. He was Iger’s pick for the job when he retired from his first tenure as CEO. Now, Iger’s new mission is to find another replacement. But Disney insiders now claim that Iger’s ultimate goal might be to sell the company, with Apple being the most likely buyer.
We have seen speculation in the past that either Disney or Apple would be interested in such a deal. Previously, Iger noted that Steve Jobs was a close friend. A Disney-Apple merger might have been on the table if it weren’t for Jobs’s untimely death in 2011.
With Iger’s return to Disney, insiders are already speculating that his mission might be to sell the company. And Apple’s name is popping up again.
One such insider talked to The Wrap, saying that Iger will sell the company. “This is the pinnacle deal for the ultimate dealmaker,” the unnamed insider claimed.
The deal would make Iger the last CEO of Disney and cement his legacy at the company. Iger himself is no stranger to big merger and acquisition deals. Under his leadership, Disney acquired Pixar (2006), Marvel (2009), Lucasfilm (2012), and 21st Century Fox (2019).
Selling Disney to a company like Apple or any similar giant with enough capital to make a deal would become the ultimate move from Iger. But this is all just speculation at this point. Iger has just returned to Disney, so any talks about selling the company or merging it with a tech giant are premature. Especially in the current economy.
Moreover, the regulatory landscape might make a Disney-Apple deal nearly impossible. Regulators are increasingly worried about the power wielded by companies like Apple, Google, and Meta (Facebook). We’ve witnessed many antitrust investigations recently, and more will follow.
As for Apple, the company is easily a frontrunner for any massive purchase. Even if Disney isn’t for sale, Apple has the cash to pursue significant investments. The Disney Plus streaming service alone would significantly bolster Apple’s services division. Add control over Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm content, and the deal might be a no-brainer.
Apple’s biggest acquisition to date is the $3 billion purchase of Beats by Dr. Dre, although there are rumors that it wants to purchase Manchester United. The purchase helped Apple pivot to music streaming and gave it control over a strong brand, the Beats headphones.
Meanwhile, Disney’s current market cap is just north of $175 billion.