Disney's Next Acquisition Speculation / Discussion

Darkprime

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I was wondering whether or not this was thread worthy or if I should have put it on one of the Fox acquisition threads. But I thought it might be a good discussion. So what do you think Disney's next acquisition could be? Following its highly anticipated and somewhat controversial deal to acquire 21st Century Fox's Entertainment assets closing earlier this year. Many are already discussing what Disney's next acquisition might be. All though most of us I think agree the next acquisition probably won't happen till 2021 at the earliest as Disney recovers financially from the Fox deal.

There's some speculation about what the new CEO in 2021 might do to make their big opening statement. I was speaking with an analyst earlier today and they were speculating that the next CEO whoever that might be may try to acquire Sony. The analyst couldn't say whether he believed such a transaction would even be approved but he believed that the driving force behind such an acquisition would be to acquire Sony's Marvel properties. Specifically Spider-Man. And that the deal wouldn't be content driven like the Fox deal.

But when I mentioned Sony's content being part of Disney+ if such a deal happened he said yea it would make sense. But Spider-Man would be the main reason behind such deal which I thought was interesting and this was coming from an analyst who are all "Content is King" now a days. So what do you think? Will Disney try to acquire Sony within the next few years? or could they buy something else? There's also been a lot of talk that Disney should get into video game development. Maybe they look at acquiring a video game studio?

Here's a look at some of Disney's past acquisitions.

A history of Disney acquisition's

January 2006 - Pixar

August 2009 - Marvel Entertainment

October 2012 - Lucasfilm

August 2016 - BAMTech

December 2017 - 21st Century Fox

March 2019 - Hulu

Looking at the above timeline it seems like Disney likes to acquire something every 3-4 years. The Fox deal being the exception as Disney looked to build its library of content for Disney+. Based on this timeline we should expect the next acquisition in 2021/2022. What ever that ends up being i'm sure it will be exciting, controversial and hotly debated as Disney continues to grow.
 

Disney Irish

Well-Known Member
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Sony as a whole, no. But if Sony was willing to put Sony Entertainment (Sony Pictures/Columbia) up for sale, then maybe. However with that said Sony has been pushing content lately so I don't see Disney making a play for it. But in the world of mega mergers a day makes a huge difference. If Sony Corp continues to see Sony Entertainment lag they may just be willing to let it go, so only time will tell.

Just a note Disney is already partner with some video game companies, such as GameLoft. So if they really wanted to get back into game development they can always buy GameLoft or one of the other small game developers they partner with.

But to the larger question, I don't see Disney buying another large company for awhile. The BOD and the next CEO might want to be more fiscally conservative for awhile. Basically pay down their debt before making another large purchase which would be wise.
 

bUU

Well-Known Member
Disney's debt to equity ratio went up, of course, but it is nowhere near the peak, and it only 0.01 higher right now than it was before they announced the Fox deal. There's still more fuel in the tank.
 

Darkprime

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
What do you think the chances are Disney would try to acquire Jame's Cameron's production house Lightstorm? I could see Cameron thinking similar to Lucas. Wanting to pass the Avatar IP onto other film makers.
 

Disney Irish

Well-Known Member
What do you think the chances are Disney would try to acquire Jame's Cameron's production house Lightstorm? I could see Cameron thinking similar to Lucas. Wanting to pass the Avatar IP onto other film makers.
Who knows... Has Cameron ever hinted at selling it?
 

seascape

Well-Known Member
There are only 2 things I would like Disney to buy. First is all the existing Spiderman movies and shows Sony has made and the rights to any and all Marvel Characters Sony has. Second is any and all Marvel movie rights Universal has. I dont care about the themepark rights as I think they are not worth that much given all the Marvel Characters Disney csn still use in Orlando and the fact thay Outside of Orlando and all around the world Disney will soon have the rights to every Marvel Character.
 

AnotherDayAnotherDollar

Well-Known Member
No.... I don't see Disney buying Sony (or SPE or Columbia) at all. Reasons being:

1) I think they can get it passed the DOJ in the US, but it would face opposition in other countries (they already did in a couple with FOX IIRC).
2) They don't need them. It would also be pricey. SPE would go for 30B or so (https://www.vox.com/2017/1/17/14273598/sony-pictures-buy-amazon-alphabet-facebook-apple ). Columbia would go for 10B, give or take. Not cheap for something they have no need. Not easy to explain to stakeholders either.

No. What I see happening is - assuming Sony is willing to part - a conglomerate where Disney is a partner with someone to acquire SPE/Columbia specifically for Spider-Man movies and TV shows (past, present, and future). Maybe a couple of other assets as well, but yeah they would be part of a conglomerate to get what they want while easing the burden on the main acquirer who would buy them. Netflix, Amazon, Apple are likely buyers for Sony, so Iger should approach Reeds, Bezos, Cook to see if they can partner up. No need to wait for the next CEO (who is likely going to be Mayer or Chapek).

If I'm the next Disney CEO I'm trying to carve my legacy, so yes I would try to acquire all the Marvel rights not currently owned and further expand theme parks internationally and in the US. I would try the above and "leak" that info publicly to force Sony's hand. I would get into an industry that - from what I used to hear - was on the on again/off again plan. Videogames. A 38B+ (and growing) a year industry. "Disney are storytellers". Videogames tell stories. Iger said no to videogames during a call and they must have had an internal discussion about it because during the Disney+ presentation he got asked the same and said he shouldn't say anything.

I would only consider companies that could have synergy across my other business, specifically TV/Studio, Parks/Cruises, and licensing/Consumer Products. Ideally you'd get a Fox sized acquisition with one of the following:

Nintendo - that's the big daddy. I am flabbergasted no one tried to buy them when their marketcap was about 2T Yen (20B). Current market cap at about 5.1T Y (51B). We are talking about a Fox sized acquisition, so not likely unless their market cap goes down again. Major franchises like Mario, Zelda, Pokemon (IP co owned). I would get out of the HW making business.
EA - 27B market cap. Owners of Mass Effect and PvZ.
Take Two - 12B market cap. Owners of GTA and RDR.
Activision - 33B market cap. Owners of Call of Duty and Candy Crush.
Ubisoft - 7.83B market cap. Owners of Assassin's Creed and Rayman.
Zenimax - Privately owned. Owners of Oblivion and Fallout.
Valve - Privately owned. If you know games, you know Valve.

Honestly though I would look very, very closely at one or two of the following companies:

Square Enix - 435B Y (4.4B) market cap. About a Pixar sized acquisition with huge franchises especially in Asia like FF, SO, Mana, DQ (IP co owned), and Tomb Raider. Disney already has a relationship with them as they make KH for Disney and are making Avengers for Marvel. Own a lot of capable developers like Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal.
Capcom - 302B Y (3.1B) market cap. About a Lucasfilm/Marvel acquisition. Big franchises worldwide (Resident Evil, Street Fighter, MegaMan, Dead Rising) and a huge one in Asia (Monster Hunter).
Sega Sammy - 366BY (3.7B) market cap. Between a Lucasfilm/Marvel and Pixar acquisition. Big franchises worldwide (Sonic, . Owns some other business in Japan which would may be divested or considered.

I would also look at developers that I know could get one of the IPs I own (from any of my subsidiaries) and churn out good, quality products as well as create their own original IP. I would look at devs like:
Insomniac - Maker Studio sized acquisition (<1B). Great quality studio with a major pedigree that's respected by hardcore gamers. Makers of Ratchet and Clank, Resistance, and Spider-Man PS4.
BluePoint Games - Have done a tremendous job in porting games.

Among others.

That said I wouldn't do anything until after deleveraging back to normal levels and Hulu + Disney+ + ESPN+ are all profitable, so not before 2024. I would acquire the remainder of Bamtech from MLB and NHL before that as there's a put/call on that coming up in the next 2-3 years IIRC.

What do you think the chances are Disney would try to acquire Jame's Cameron's production house Lightstorm? I could see Cameron thinking similar to Lucas. Wanting to pass the Avatar IP onto other film makers.
Avatar IP is owned by FOX. Cameron has some rights, presumably veto rights and royalty rights for all products, but the IP is owned by FOX (now Disney). I made a post about it awhile back:

https://forums.wdwmagic.com/threads/pandora-world-of-avatar-phase-two.935492/page-5#post-8339578
https://forums.wdwmagic.com/threads/pandora-world-of-avatar-phase-two.935492/page-5#post-8340337
https://forums.wdwmagic.com/threads/pandora-world-of-avatar-phase-two.935492/page-5#post-8341874

However, yes it's possible Cameron can veto who directs a new Avatar movie or TV show.
 

lee.moles.disney

Well-Known Member
I like conversations like this. Here's my wish list and most of them aren't big purchases....

1. No more movie studios. Not Sony, Paramount or anyone. They have plenty of IP now across TV and movies so it's not needed or likely to get approved.

2. Gradually buy back or return rights back for anything Marvel. Spider-Man from Sony, theme park and Hulk/shehulk rights from Universal.

3. Buy the international rights to ESPN. While a loss Leader ATM, I think long term they can turn round their fortunes for ESPN. Using the UK as example, buy those rights back from BT which can't cost too much as the popularity is less outside of the US. Make it a worldwide brand for Disney

4. A game company. My initial choice would be square Enix. They can help build Disneys brand in the east and have developers that can make games that cater for all regions. Also not incredibly expensive for what they can offer.
 

DisneyGigi

Well-Known Member
I like conversations like this. Here's my wish list and most of them aren't big purchases....

1. No more movie studios. Not Sony, Paramount or anyone. They have plenty of IP now across TV and movies so it's not needed or likely to get approved.

2. Gradually buy back or return rights back for anything Marvel. Spider-Man from Sony, theme park and Hulk/shehulk rights from Universal.

3. Buy the international rights to ESPN. While a loss Leader ATM, I think long term they can turn round their fortunes for ESPN. Using the UK as example, buy those rights back from BT which can't cost too much as the popularity is less outside of the US. Make it a worldwide brand for Disney

4. A game company. My initial choice would be square Enix. They can help build Disneys brand in the east and have developers that can make games that cater for all regions. Also not incredibly expensive for what they can offer.
They definitely should buy back rights to have Marvel in Florida’s parks. I could really care less about Star Wars Land- if I could have Marvel in Florida.
 

capsshield

Active Member
Wow! What does Disney really need at this point?

I agree that they should always pursue returning all rights to all IP back to their fold. Movie, park, game or whatever rights they lost or sold out to someone else, even if this takes 50 or more years. By having all the rights secured the IP is worth a lot more.

Protecting Distribution of the IP sounds pretty logical to me as well, even if that means becoming an internet provider or merging with one.

Mobile games offer a very huge deep well for future profits and I can see them buying companies like Gameloft.

Theme park expansion - Buying land in places like Texas or Brazil or China for new resorts.
If they bought Nintendo they would own my 3 favorite companies or IP holders besides Disney, that being Marvel, Star Wars, and Nintendo.

Perhaps they should use the next few years to really build up the parks. Go crazy and set up a 20 billion dollar reinvestment plan for WDW that runs over the next decade. Done right that money would regenerate itself and a lot more.
 

matt78

Well-Known Member
I don't think Disney needs to buy anything right now except for the Spider-Man and Hulk movie rights. My one exception might be the Men in Black rights since they are based off of comics that are now owned by Marvel.

In the future I could see Disney having an interest in buying Hasbro. I wouldn't mind seeing what a Kevin Feige produced Transformers or GI Joe movie would look like. Though I'm not sure if Feige would have interest in overseeing a 2nd shared movie universe.
 
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SteamboatJoe

Well-Known Member
Obtaining the missing Marvel pieces and acquiring a major video game developer makes the most sense.

ESPN needs a complete overhaul. Does anyone really watch anything other than the games or pregame shows? Outside the Lines and 30 for 30 are probably the only worthwhile non-game related programs. SportsCenter became antiquated with smart phones and on-demand video. The talk and debate shows are garbage. All you hear about is off-field drama and the NFL/NBA teams in the top 10 media markets.
 

Cosmic Commando

Well-Known Member
I don’t know if the financials work, but Discovery, Inc. would be a great company to bring in under TWDC. If the focus of the entire company right now is the success of Disney+, Discovery has a lot of great content for people to churn through. IMO prestige projects are nice, but stuff like this takes up much more viewing time:

- Discovery Channel
- Food Network
- HGTV
- TLC
- DIY Network
- Animal Planet
- Travel Channel
- Investigation Discovery
- Oprah Winfrey Network

and it keeps going. There are also international networks in their portfolio for Disney to leverage.
 

Magicart87

Premium Member
I see a game company acquisition as the next step. A companion to their Disney+ streaming service with a spinoff game division.
 
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