According to a report from The New York Times, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger tried to purchase Time Warner in 2016 and nearly succeeded.
Disney tried to buy Warner Bros. in 2016, according to a new report. The Walt Disney Company was founded in 1923, but since 1993, the Mouse House has made numerous attempts to increase its size by acquiring various other media companies. Disney’s first significant acquisition came in 2006 with the purchase of Pixar for $7.4 billion, followed by Marvel and Lucasfilm for $4 billion each. Disney’s most recent acquisition was 21st Century Fox for $71.3 billion, giving them control of a major Hollywood studio and its assets.
Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox was mainly in anticipation of the launch of Disney+ in an attempt to expand the streaming service’s film and television library, including classics like The Sound of Music and The Simpsons. This major acquisition also gave Disney access to X-Men and Fantastic Four, leading to speculation about these characters appearing in the MCU. Disney was already one most powerful media conglomerates, and this deal only solidified their status, with a predicted 40% share over the worldwide box office. However, Disney nearly acquired another major media company five years ago.
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The New York Times reports that Disney tried to purchase Time Warner in 2016 and nearly succeeded. After AT&T acquired Time Warner in October of 2016, then-CEO of Disney Bob Iger placed a call to then-CEO of Time Warner Jeff Bewkes and asked if he would be interested in a merger. However, Time Warner’s deal with AT&T was already done. Later, Iger reached out to another media mogul, Rupert Murdoch, the founder of 21st Century Fox, and laid the groundwork for Disney’s subsequent acquisition.
If Iger’s call to Time Warner had come just a few weeks earlier, it very well could have been Disney instead of AT&T that took over Time Warner and all its subsidiaries. This would have given the Mouse House ownership of CNN, Turner Sports, Warner Bros. film studio, TBS, truTV, Cartoon Network, TNT, and HBO. Instead, AT&T acquired Time Warner, which has since been renamed to WarnerMedia and is now merging the company with Discovery.
It is impossible to know if Disney would still have pursued the 21st Century Fox deal had it acquired Warner Bros. However, acquiring both classic film studios may have rendered the company too powerful. While the idea of a Disney-run DC franchise or a Marvel-DC cinematic crossover sounds intriguing, it is probably for the best the deal didn’t happen, and some diversity in media ownership remains, rather than a complete conglomeration.
Source: The New York Times
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