On Thursday, Disney CEO Bob Iger appeared on CNBC and hinted that the company could soon be selling off some of it’s assets, such as its traditonal TV business.
“After coming back, I realized the company is facing a lot of challenges, some of them self-inflicted,” Iger told David Faber at Allen & Co.’s annual conference in Sun Valley. As a result, Disney is going to begin to assess their TV business and leave the door open to sell some of it’s networks.
Disney is going to be “expansive” in its thinking and determine if the TV networks are really core to Disney, Iger told CNBC.
Disney owns a variety of TV networks including ABC, National Geographic, 21st Century Fox, History Channel, A&E, and ESPN.
Recently, Disney owned CNBC announced layoffs including around 20 of its hosts.
“Given the current environment, ESPN has determined it necessary to identify some additional cost savings in the area of public-facing commentator salaries, and that process has begun,” ESPN said in a statement, according to CNBC. “This exercise will include a small group of job cuts in the short-term and an ongoing focus on managing costs when we negotiate individual contract renewals in the months ahead.”
Igor did mention though that ESPN will likely not be one of the networks that Disney sells off if they decide to go down this route, but that they will be looking for partners for the network.
“We’re going to be open-minded… not necessarily about spinning ESPN off but about looking for strategic partners that can either help us with distribution or content,” Iger said.
Igor made clear that “We want to stay in the sports business.”
Igor came out of retirement last year to help the struggling company. Disney’s stock is down more than 50% since spring 2021 and this summer their parks have been the emptiest in 10 years. Inside The Magic referred to it’s crowds ahead of the July 4th holiday as “a ghost town”.
This week Disney announced it will be extending Igor’s contract through 2026.