Ex-ESPN boss John Skipper Says Bob Iger Might be The Last Disney CEO
A major deal between Apple and Disney could be on the horizon.
Ever since Bob Iger’s recent shock reappointment as Disney CEO, people have been wondering what he is actually going to use his second term in the role to do. When the news was announced, I wrote:
Given one of the main reasons for Iger’s return appears to be identifying a new successor and getting things ready for them, I’d be surprised if anything too radical occurs over the next 24 months.
Well, according to John Skipper, I may well be proved to be very wrong. Skipper used to run Disney-owned sports network ESPN and worked directly for Iger for six years. Speaking to Matthew Belloni’s “The Town” podcast, he speculated that Iger could actually do some kind of deal with Apple.
Skipper argued that selling ESPN , thereby making Disney significantly smaller, would make it more vulnerable to being bought, something he does not believe the company wants. However, he said:
I do believe in this return, a combination of sorts, so I wont’ even call it an acquisition, with Apple, cannot be an impossibility… Bob is a big thinker and he will do what he thinks is best for the shareholders and for the combination of assets which Disney holds, and they will have to contemplate whether being combined with a larger entity and a sort of tech, content entity is a good idea.
More tantalisingly, he continued:
Bob didn’t come back without some idea of what he’s going to do and my guess is it will be transformational… He’s come back with some plan in mind.
As if that wasn’t enough, Skipper, returning to a phrase used by Belloni earlier in the conversation, said:
[Iger] might well be the last CEO of the Walt Disney Company. I don’t think the succession thing is obvious.
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