Tuesday, March 17, 2020

"Apple/Disney: Is Apple About To Make The Happiest Acquisition On Earth?" (AAPL; DIS)

Should a deal be announced keep in mind that in the risk (merger) arbitrage biz, the emphasis is on the first word, not the second.
From PYMNTS.com:
The latest rumors about Apple buying Walt Disney Co. aren’t new – they go back to Disney’s 2006 acquisition of Pixar. That made late Pixar Co-founder Steve Jobs into Disney’s largest shareholder and a member of its board. Of course, Jobs was also co-founder of a little computer startup you might have heard of called Apple, and at the time was in his second tour of duty as its CEO.

After Disney bought Pixar, the logic held that it was only a matter of time before Apple returned the favor and bought Disney. Those rumors have circulated on and off for nearly 15 years, and they got a new injection of life last fall. That’s when former Disney CEO Bob Iger noted in his autobiography that had Jobs not died in 2011, a Disney/Apple combination might have happened after all.
“I believe that if Steve were still alive, we would have combined our companies, or at least discussed the possibility very seriously,” Iger wrote.

Fast-forward a few months, and it seems the Apple/Disney acquisition rumor is again riding high amid the wave of uncertainty crashing through markets, thanks to the coronavirus epidemic. This time, it’s been ushered in by Rosenblatt Securities Analyst Bernie McTernan, who wrote in a note that now might be a golden opportunity for Apple to snap up Disney at a bargain price and generate a win-win for both firms.

After all, Disney and many other firms in the travel and entertainment vertical are taking a beating at the outbreak’s hands. Disney’s Asian parks were closed for much of the first three months of 2020, and as of yesterday (March 16), they were joined by the company’s U.S. parks. That has helped to push Disney’s stock price down approximately 35 percent so far this year.

McTernan wrote in his note that this presents a prime opportunity for Apple to beef up its Apple TV+ streaming service by acquiring Disney and its rival Disney+ streaming offering. As a recent entrant to the streaming wars, Apple TV+ has thus far struggled to have enough original content to be competitive. “Disney+ could solve Apple’s content problem, as we believe AppleTV+ is off to a relatively slow start,” McTernan wrote....MORE