Disney's Bob Iger does a 360 on possibly selling ABC and FX and now says he'll keep the TV stations



Walt Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger said he’s no longer considering selling the company’s traditional TV channels, like ABC and FX, reversing comments from earlier this year.

The executive, who returned to run Disney a year ago following the dismissal of his successor, Bob Chapek, had floated the idea of a sale in July. In an interview with CNBC, Iger said such channels may no longer be essential to the company.

“My thought at the time was that I would be public with that thought process, and I went as far as saying they might not be core to the company,” Iger said Wednesday at the New York Times DealBook Summit in New York. “I did not want to be accused of being an old media executive” and not open to selling legacy media assets

Disney received interest in the channels from Nexstar Media Group Inc. and an offer from businessman Byron Allen. At an employee event on Tuesday, however, TV chief Dana Walden said that networks like ABC and the Hulu streaming service can work together to create a wider audience.

Back at the DealBook Summit, Iger said Disney regularly evaluates its holdings to see whether they still fit with the company’s plans.

“Like all of our assets, we are constantly evaluating what is their value to the company today?” he said. “What could their value be tomorrow? Is it a growth business?”

Shares of Disney were little changed at $92.53 at the close in New York. They are up 6.5% this year.

Disney’s board will consider potential director nominations from activist investor Nelson Peltz’s Trian Fund Management LP, in line with its regular nomination and appointment process, Iger said. Late Wednesday, the company said it was appointing Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman and veteran media executive Jeremy Darroch to its board. 

Disney hasn’t resumed advertising on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, after halting ads following owner Elon Musk’s endorsement of an antisemitic conspiracy theory.

Iger, whose opening the Shanghai Disneyland park was one of the most important achievements of his career, also said he’s not as optimistic as he once was about Disney’s business in China, given the tensions between the country and the US, which impacts American companies operating there. 

He also said at the summit that he offered to speak with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis but was refused. The Republican and the company are embroiled in a legal battle concerning oversight of Disney’s Florida theme parks. 

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