Disney CEO Bob Iger: I believe if Steve Jobs were still alive, we might have combined with Apple

Steve Jobs shows off the first iPhone.

SHAUN CURRY | AFP | Getty Images

Disney CEO Bob Iger believes he would have discussed combining Disney with Apple had Steve Jobs not died in 2011, according to a passage from his new autobiography published in Vanity Fair.

“With every success the company has had since Steve’s death, there’s always a moment in the midst of my excitement when I think, I wish Steve could be here for this,” Iger writes.

“It’s impossible not to have the conversation with him in my head that I wish I could be having in real life. More than that, I believe that if Steve were still alive, we would have combined our companies, or at least discussed the possibility very seriously.”

Iger writes of his close relationship with Jobs, spurred by Disney’s decision to acquire Pixar — Jobs’ other company — for $7.4 billion in 2006. That deal put Jobs on the Disney board. Iger joined Apple’s board in 2011 and remained until last week, when Apple’s foray into streaming video prompted Iger to resign.

Analysts have speculated about an Apple-Disney merger for years, though the size of the companies may now make a deal untenable, especially as the U.S. government ramps up regulatory scrutiny of the biggest technology companies. Apple has a market capitalization of more than $1 trillion. Disney’s market valuation is $246 billion with an enterprise value of more than $300 billion. An acquisition of Disney now would be the largest deal of all time.

Still, Apple’s lack of expertise in media and recent interest in subscription streaming video makes Disney an ideal partner. Disney is launching its Disney+ streaming service in November, a $6.99-per-month product that it expects will have 60 million to 90 million global subscribers by end of fiscal year 2024. Apple will launch its subscription video service, Apple+, on Nov. 1 for $4.99 a month, with the first year free with the purchase of a new Apple device.

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