At some point, we’ll be living in a future where only six companies exist and they rule the world with an iron fist, going to war to claim territory and forcibly win the loyalty of their customers. We here at TG2 Studios aren’t prepared to declare any allegiances at this time because business practices change, and the way companies deal with their most loyal customers also change as frequently as the wind changes direction. There was a time where we were quite the outspoken Disney loyalists, but lately that allegiance has withered, and in its place we have become pretty loyal to all things Apple, and it is in that allegiance that we find great interest in the rumor about Apple possibly buying Disney for $200 Billion dollars.
Companies acquire other companies all the time and usually it’s not a big, huge, grandiose deal for anyone outside of those companies. The world keeps on spinning. But sometimes, you can really feel the impact in immediate and powerful ways. When it comes to movie fans, many are still feeling the aftershocks of Disney acquiring Lucasfilm and Marvel, a move that changed all three companies and their creative output in fairly profound ways.
But Apple buying Disney makes that look small in comparison. According to a report by RBC Capital Markets (via Variety), Apple is checking under Disney’s hood and considering writing a check. “Recently, investors have increased their expectations that Apple could seriously consider acquiring Disney,” the report says. In other words: this is a rumor and it’s a rumor on shaky ground that could vanish into a puff of smoke. But there are rumblings. Now we don’t like to report on rumblings because they are just that: rumblings. However, Apple has made it clear that this company is open to “acquisitions of any size,” even meeting with Time Warner before that company’s $85 billion merger with AT&T. Disney, one of the few companies in the world that is as instantly recognizable and popular as Apple, makes for a compelling potential partner.
It’s easy to imagine the advantages that would come from both companies living under the same roof. Disney could create entertainment that could be built into iTunes and the App Store, with classic films and new releases alike receiving some kind of exclusivity on their platforms. This partnership could extend to all corners of the both empires – imagine Disney theme parks equipped with technology that will interact with Apple devices.
This rumor arrives a few months after stories of Disney looking into buying Netflix, which would be another game-changing potential merger. As things stand now, we who are the consumers of technology and entertainment are on the cusp of some major evolutions in that same entertainment landscape and many companies are going to need to adapt or die. If Disney isn’t going to buy Netflix, then getting bought by a company that will help them stand their ground against Netflix may be a canny move.
However, as Variety explains, this move would require a little bit of federal assistance:
Another caveat: Apple would need U.S. regulators to give it a “tax holiday” to repatriate offshore cash to fund an acquisition of Disney. Assuming Apple could obtain a 9% tax rate, it would effectively have access to cash of $223 billion, RBC noted. “Even though investors might expect higher cash returns in form of buybacks/dividends, strategic uses are likely to take precedence,” the analysts wrote.
Given the current business model that Disney has been operating under, would a purchase by Apple actually have some benefits for the consumer? With Pixar already having one foot in Apple’s camp and another in Disney’s, does this purchase by Apple help cement their position in the entertainment industry, especially with the automatic acquisitions of both Lucasfilm and Marvel? Would the SEC actually permit such a move, and most importantly of all, if it could happen, do YOU think it’s a good idea?
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