Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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by Jason Snell

Could Apple really buy Disney?

Kim Masters and Alex Weprin, writing in The Hollywood Reporter:

A few weeks before Bob Iger sat down for that CNBC interview in which he said Disney’s linear TV networks, like ABC and FX, “may not be core” to the company’s business, a veteran Hollywood executive mused to The Hollywood Reporter on the possibility of a deal that would rock the industry: Apple buying Disney. It’s an idea that keeps being discussed, even though many top executives have scoffed at it and many still do. Apple doesn’t want to buy a studio, they say, and there’s no way the feds would allow a huge deal like that to go through.

The “Apple buys Disney” concept has been floating around for years, but it has never seemed more likely than it does right now. This is not to say that it seems especially likely, but given Disney’s current business issues and the return of former Apple board member Bob Iger to the CEO job there… it doesn’t seem as outlandish an idea as it once did.

As the story by Masters and Weprin details, there are plenty of places where Disney does not fit with Apple. But if Iger is willing to sell off its TV networks and stations and streamline the company, it’s entirely possible that he’s actually prepping it for sale.

The business of a tech giant like Apple is so much larger than that of an entertainment company like Disney that Apple could easily view it as a complimentary piece that would augment the growth of its Services business. And Apple would acquire an enormous intellectual-property library.

As for regulatory concerns, I just don’t see them. Apple’s overlap with Disney is relatively minor. The Microsoft acquisition of Activision is a similar case of a tech giant buying a company whose strength is in content, and it’s going to happen.

Apple buying Disney would certainly be… unexpected. But after many years of shaking my head at the idea, I’m hesitant to do so now. While Apple has been slowly creeping toward being a company that’s as much about digital services as hardware and software, a move like this would be instantly transformational.

It may simply be the fact that the tech industry is about to eat the entertainment industry whole. If that’s the case, Apple may not find a better match than its old friends at Disney.

—Linked by Jason Snell

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