In a recent interview, Walt Disney Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Robert Iger discussed how his company’s purchases of Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Entertainment and Lucasfilm have transformed the Burbank entertainment giant.
On Disney Animation's struggles:
"When I became CEO, we had been through about a decade of disappointing performance in the animation business. Except for the relationship we had with Pixar. And if you were to look at the Disney animated films from that decade — which I'll call the post-'Lion King' decade — a very few made any money. And in a number of cases, not only did they lose money but they did significant damage to the Disney brand."
On Disney's evaluation of the prospective Pixar purchase:
"You can't look at your financial folks or your strategic planning folks and tell them to come up with an answer that serves your needs. You need them to be objective. You need them to be honest with you. So I didn't say, 'Go figure out how you make this pencil out.' I just said, 'Do more homework.'"
On Disney's strategy:
"We know how to leverage or mine value from [intellectual property] probably better than any media company out there. And we have the ecosystem to do it, worldwide."
On the similar human element of each of the three major deals:
"In each case there was a single shareholder that controlled the sale. They were all — in their own way —very personally relationship-driven."