Bob Iger, chairman, and CEO of Walt Disney Co, reveals in his memoir that a merger between his company and Apple would’ve materialized if Steve Jobs hadn’t died.
“The Ride of A Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company” will hit the shelves later this month. Prior to its release, Vanity Fair’s online outlet published an excerpt from the book where Iger had a handful of revelations to tell.
One of these is that the CEO found out about the return of Jobs’ cancer just 30 minutes before he announced Disney’s USD7.4 billion deal to acquire Pixar. Jobs was a majority shareholder and chairman of the computer animation studio before being a member of Disney’s board of directors following the merger. Iger had only been CEO of Disney for three months at the time.
According to the memoir Jobs had offered Iger the chance to back out of the deal at the last moment saying: “I am about to become your biggest shareholder and a member of your board. And I think I owe you the right, given this knowledge, to back out of the deal.” Iger ultimately declined his offer and the rest, as we say, is history.
As for the possibility of a Disney-Apple merger, Iger says:
“I believe that if Steve were still alive, we would have combined our companies, or at least discussed the possibility very seriously.”
He noted in the memoir that the two companies’ fraught relationship was like that even before he was CEO. It went so far as Jobs pledging never to strike a deal with Disney again.
“Among his many frustrations was a feeling that it was often too difficult to get anything done with Disney,” Iger writes Jobs.