Disney’s future is a hot topic among Hollywood elite.

Disney's future is a hot topic among Hollywood elite.

Bob Iger’s Next Move: Speculations and Possibilities in Hollywood’s Favorite Parlor Game


Aug 14 (ANBLE) – Hollywood’s favorite parlor game of the week: What will Bob Iger do next? From Culver City to New York City, the U.S. media and entertainment industry’s powerbrokers are spinning scenarios about the future and the possible breakup of the industry’s most powerful conglomerate.

Bob Iger, the chief executive of Walt Disney, has triggered vigorous industry chatter with his recent comments that the company’s television businesses, including its stations and cable channels, “may not be core to Disney.” These remarks have set off a frenzy of speculation and evaluation among bankers and private equity players, who are considering their next move.

“He’s signaling to investors,” said one banker, fueling the conjecture that Bob Iger is preparing for significant changes. The media industry is abuzz with discussions about the future of Disney’s television assets and its potential strategic partnerships for ESPN, the company’s marquee sports brand.

While some industry insiders envision Iger spinning off certain Disney businesses as a separate company, loaded with an appropriate level of debt, others predict that Disney may eventually spin off its television asset to its shareholders as a separate, publicly traded company. Private equity could potentially play a role in this scenario as well.

Furthermore, there are suggestions that Disney may need to attract outside investors for ESPN to competitively bid for increasingly expensive sports media rights. This move would potentially free up cash for Disney to acquire NBCUniversal’s stake in Hulu, assuming full ownership of the streaming service next year.

It’s worth noting that Disney is keeping a tight lid on its plans and declined to comment on these speculations.

Some industry figures draw parallels between Bob Iger’s strategies and those of Jeff Bewkes, the former CEO of Time Warner. Bewkes famously sold off parts of the media conglomerate’s business before eventually selling its core film and television unit to AT&T in a massive deal. This approach, labeled the “full-Bewkes,” could be Iger’s end-game – positioning Disney as a more attractive acquisition target.

To make Disney appealing to potential buyers like Apple or Google, Iger may need to prune the company down to just the parts that preserve its global intellectual property portfolio. This would involve separating out its cash-generating legacy businesses like TV, as major technology companies are unlikely to be interested in traditional media assets due to differing business models and potential regulatory issues.

Speculations have been circulating about Apple potentially acquiring Disney due to the combination of great content and strong distribution it would offer. However, Iger remains cautious and acknowledges the importance of the global regulatory environment in such a deal.

While the future actions of Bob Iger and Disney are still uncertain, the entertainment industry continues to speculate and eagerly watch for any hints of what the renowned CEO may do next. Whatever path Disney chooses, it is poised to make significant waves in the media and entertainment landscape.