Rumored Apple-Disney merger addressed by returning Disney CEO Bob Iger

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Rumored Apple-Disney merger addressed by returning Disney CEO Bob Iger
Every so often a certain rumor about a possible merger involving Apple and Disney hits the media. The last time we discussed the possibility of such a transaction was in January 2019 when we wondered whether Apple would consider buying the "House of Mouse." We obviously were onto something since just a few months later then Disney CEO Bob Iger (who last week pulled a Steve Jobs with a triumphant return to Disney as its past and current CEO) mentioned an interesting story in his autobiography.

Disney's returning CEO Bob Iger once said that had Jobs lived, both sides would have discussed a merger


According to Iger, had Steve Jobs not succumbed to cancer and died in 2011, Iger would have met with Jobs about combining the two firms. For those unaware, after being kicked out of Apple by his own hand-picked replacement (former Pepsi president John Sculley), Jobs ended up investing in and becoming CEO of Pixar Animation Studio. In 2006, Steve Jobs helped sell Pixar to Disney for $7.4 billion which left him (and later his estate) the largest shareholder in Disney for several years. It also gave Steve a seat on Disney's board.


So this relationship has fueled past rumors of an Apple-Disney merger. And Iger threw some fuel on the fire back in 2019 with his autobiography. But according to Deadline, today, Iger held his first town hall meeting since replacing Bob Chapek as CEO last week. Disney hopes that the return of Iger, who put in 20 years at the Burbank headquartered studio, is as productive for the company as Jobs' return was for Apple.

When Steve came back to Cupertino, he had a series of new product releases that might be unequaled in tech history. First came the translucent iMac G3. The iPod was next and that was obviously a massive success for Jobs and Apple. A year later, the iMac G4 was released with an all-in-one design. Next came the iPhone and then the iPad. Not a bad run of products.

But let's return to today's town hall, shall we? According to Deadline, Iger addressed rumors about a rumored Apple-Disney merger. What rumors he was referring to are unknown since this writer hasn't heard anything about such speculation for years. Nonetheless, Iger, who once upon a time was on Apple's board (leaving when Apple started creating its own original video content), said that such talk amounted to (and we are paraphrasing at this point) poppycock. Iger says that any report of an Apple-Disney combination is "pure speculation."

An acquisition of a company as big as Disney is not Apple's style


Now we should mention that some analysts do, from time to time, push an Apple-Disney merger as a great deal for both firms. For Apple, it could put an Apple Store in the theme parks. The traffic that these stores would get from park attendees would be incredible to be sure. However, for most families working out a trip to Orlando or Anaheim requires a serious budget that probably wouldn't leave much money left over to buy an iPhone or an Apple Watch. And perhaps Disney could benefit from rides loaded up with Apple-created technology.

Also, while Apple is cash-rich, it has spent its money on smaller, more strategic acquisitions over the years. Usually, it buys a company with a product that is one or two years away from being ready for the iPhone. In July 2012, Apple bought biometric firm AuthenTec for $356 million. A year later, the iPhone 5s was introduced with Touch ID. The AuthenTec purchase is the quintessential Apple acquisition.

The most money Apple ever spent on an acquisition is the $3 billion that it forked over to buy Beats Audio in 2014. Apple used the purchase to create Apple Music. Considering that Disney's current market capitalization is just short of $175 billion, we just can't imagine any scenario where Apple buys Disney. 
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