Bloomberg recently released a report detailing Disney listing various assets for sale, and within the article, the outlet reported rumours of Bob Iger looking to sell Disney itself to Apple.
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The report mentions that Disney put its linear TV assets up for sale last week which includes their networks ABC, FX and Freeform, with Iger also seeking a strategic partner for the Disney owned sports network, ESPN – Disney are not looking for a full sale of the sports network. It’s unknown if Disney is looking to sell their TV networks in their entirety or partially, with FX in particular supplying a large amount of programming for the streaming service Hulu, which Disney own the majority of, with plans to merge Hulu content into Disney+ later this year in the United States (Hulu and FX content have been available on Disney+ internationally for quite some time).
The decline in cable TV is what has reportedly spurred Iger and Disney’s want to sell their linear TV networks, with the company pinning its TV hopes on their streaming services, Disney+ and Hulu, but the company is expected to lose $800M in their fiscal third quarter, with Disney+ losing 4M subscribers last quarter. Bloomberg reports that there’s a long list of interested parties in regards to buying stakes in ESPN, including the tech giant, Apple. But the list for the linear TV networks are smaller with most expected to be private equity firms that would likely milk for the networks for cash and allow them to fall into obscurity.
Lastly, and probably the tidbit that readers will find most interesting, Bloomberg added in their report that they’ve heard rumours that Bob Iger could be looking to sell Disney to Apple. The outlet notes that it’s hard to imagine Disney being sold, with Iger himself being a “builder” and not a seller, but with the amount of cost cutting that Disney and Iger are doing as of late, it doesn’t seem out of the question.
Rumours of Disney looking to be bought by Apple have swirled online for what seems like at least a year, primarily driven by streaming services losses and poor performances at the theatrical box office, both of which has continued into this year with Disney’s latest offering, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny expecting to lose Disney hundreds of millions of dollars. But despite a less than stellar year, I don’t see a sale of Disney to Apple happening for a very long time – if ever.
Though one thing I can see happening is more partnerships between the two titans, perhaps Disney could license content to Apple’s streaming service, Apple TV+ – other steamers are doing so, with Warner Bros. Discovery licensing series to Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. WBD recently licensed the HBO original, Insecure, to Netflix. As mentioned in the Bloomberg article, Apple are reportedly interested in ESPN, and the tech giant has been exploring sports market possibilities in recent years, acquiring rights to show Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer games on their streaming service, with Apple also looking to acquire the media rights to Pac-12 sporting events and bid for the NFL’s Sunday Ticket, but lost out to YouTube.
Personally I could see Apple streaming Disney owned content months or years after the project releases on a Disney owned service. Apple TV+ has gained a favourable reputation for producing quality and prestige series such as Ted Lasso, Severance and many more. I could personally see the critically acclaimed Andor sitting nicely alongside Apple’s offerings for a time, as well as multiple FX series. I highly doubt Disney will be acquired by Apple, but it’s worth keeping an eye on how these events unfold.
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