Bob Iger on Disney, Pixar, Apple, and Steve Jobs
Bob Iger’s book excerpt, published recently in Vanity Fair, is a must read for any Disney, Pixar, or Apple fan.
In it, the Disney CEO wonders publicly, about Steve Jobs and how he would have reacted to the proposition of a Disney/Apple merger.
Would Apple and Disney Have Merged?
Disney CEO Bob Iger believes he would have discussed combining Disney with Apple had Steve Jobs not died in 2011, according to a passage from his new autobiography published in Vanity Fair.
“With every success the company has had since Steve’s death, there’s always a moment in the midst of my excitement when I think, I wish Steve could be here for this,” Iger writes.
“It’s impossible not to have the conversation with him in my head that I wish I could be having in real life. More than that, I believe that if Steve were still alive, we would have combined our companies, or at least discussed the possibility very seriously.”
A Sad, But Telling Chapter
The chapter is quite somber, given it’s narrative of Steve Jobs’ cancer relapse. However, the passage certainly gives insight to a human side of Iger, often hid from public view.
He told me the cancer was now in his liver and he talked about the odds of beating it. He was going to do whatever it took to be at his son Reed’s high school graduation, he said. When he told me that was four years away, I felt devastated. Bob Iger on Steve Jobs
However the story also underlines the focus of Iger, who learned of Jobs’ dire diagnosis just minutes before Disney purchased Pixar.
It was now 10 minutes before our release was to go out. I had no idea if I was doing the right thing, but I’d quickly calculated that Steve was not material to the deal itself, although he certainly was material to me. We walked in silence back to the atrium. That night I took my wife, Willow Bay, into my confidence. Willow had known Steve for years, since long before I knew him, and instead of toasting what had been a momentous day in my early tenure as CEO, we cried together over the news. No matter what he told me, no matter how resolved he would be in his fight with cancer, we dreaded what was ahead for him. Iger on the Disney/Pixar Deal
That calculation — not cold, just calculated — turned out well for Disney. But Iger, and others, have wondered if more could have come from the close relationship between the two men and their two companies.
Analysts have speculated about an Apple-Disney merger for years, though the size of the companies may now make a deal untenable, especially as the U.S. government ramps up regulatory scrutiny of the biggest technology companies. Apple has a market capitalization of more than $1 trillion. Disney’s market valuation is $246 billion with an enterprise value of more than $300 billion. An acquisition of Disney now would be the largest deal of all time.
And now, in a different day and age — and in the wake of Iger leaving the Apple Board — it’s a deal best relegated to fantasy.
But it’s fun to think about, no?
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