Disney buys streaming firm BAMTech

Alade Abayomi ADeleke
Alade Abayomi ADeleke

Disney is now officially a 100% stakeholder of BAMTech, the streaming technology services group that powers Disney+ and the company’s other direct-to-consumer services.

 

Recall that, earlier in November, Disney paid $900 million to Major League Baseball to buy out the league’s remaining 15% stake in BAMTech, the media conglomerate disclosed in an SEC filing Tuesday.

 

In 2016, Disney made a $1 billion investment in BAMTech, giving it a 33% stake, and then a year later paid an additional $1.58 billion for a 75% stake. In August 2021, the NHL opted to sell its 10% interest in BAMTech to Disney for $350 million. As of Oct. 1, 2022, MLB’s 15% interest in BAMTech was recorded in Disney’s financial statements at $828 million.

 

In 2015, MLB spun off the streaming-technology division as BAMTech, setting up the eventual takeover by Disney.

 

Disney’s full ownership of BAMTech comes amid the company’s surprise Nov. 20 announcement that Bob Iger would return as CEO, with the board ousting former chief exec Bob Chapek after less than three years.

 

In a memo to Disney staffers on Nov. 21, Iger said restructuring at the company will begin “in the coming weeks.” As part of that restructuring, Kareem Daniel, chairman of Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution, will leave the company.

 

According to Disney’s 10-K filing Tuesday with the SEC, the company said “we anticipate that within the coming months Mr. Iger will initiate organizational and operating changes within the company to address the board’s goals.”

 

Disney said, “While the plans are in early stages, changes in our structure and operations, including within DMED (and including possibly our distribution approach and the businesses/distribution platforms selected for the initial distribution of content), can be expected.

 

“The restructuring and change in business strategy, once determined, could result in impairment charges.”

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