Reports indicate that the exit of longtime chief executive officer and chairman of Walt Disney, Bob Iger, could be delayed once again if the media conglomerate goes on to acquire some of 21st Century Fox’s assets. According to sources if an acquisition deal is successful Iger’s tenure could be extended beyond his scheduled retirement date of July 2019.
Rumors of a possible acquisition of Fox’s cable television and movie assets by Disney first appeared early last month. Sources now say that the value of the deal is being pegged at between $40 billion and $60 billion. It is also being speculated that the two media giants could come to a deal in the coming week.
Earlier in the year the board of Walt Disney voted to extend Iger’s contract for the third time. Iger first become the company’s chairman and CEO 12 years ago and his retirement date had been set for summer next year. Part of the reason why Iger’s contract has been extended severally is due to the lack of an heir apparent. Sources now indicate that if the acquisition deal is successful Fox’s James Murdoch might succeed Iger at the helm.
In Disney’s most recent quarterly report, the company’s earnings missed Wall Street’s estimates due to struggles in the firm’s television unit as more and more subscribers cut the cord in favor of cheap online streaming plans. This has made it necessary for Disney to consider launch streaming services and plans are currently underway to have the media conglomerate unveil one streaming service dedicated purely to fans of live sports and another one for television and movie content. The streaming services are expected to be launched in the course of the next two years.
Speculation over the possible extension of Iger’s contract coincides with Disney adding two new directors to its board – Francis deSouza, the chief executive officer of Illumina Inc, a biotech firm and Safra Catz, Oracle’s co-chief executive officer.
“It is a privilege to be a part of such an iconic institution. At both Disney and Illumina, we have very similar goals: to touch people’s lives. Disney does it through first-class storytelling, and Illumina does it through cutting-edge science,” said deSouza.
According to Disney, de Souza and Catz will join the board starting February 1 next year. Four months ago the board of Disney also elected the chairman and chief executive officer of General Motors, Mary Barra, as its 12th board member.