Bob Iger Explains Why Disney Didn’t Buy Twitter in 2015: ‘It Would’ve Been Irresponsible’

“It would come with so many other challenges and complexities that as a manager of a great global brand I was not prepared to take on,” the former Disney CEO said

Bob Iger
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Former Disney CEO and chairman Bob Iger explained Wednesday why the company didn’t buy Twitter in 2015, noting that an acquisition at the time “would’ve been irresponsible.”

Iger and Disney were nearing an acquisition of the social media platform and had even weighed how managing bots and other hate speech would affect the economics of buying it. But the executive ultimately got cold feet upon realizing it could do “more harm than good.”

“We’re in the business of manufacturing fun at Disney, of doing nothing but good, even though there are others today that criticize Disney for the opposite, which is wrong. And this was just something that we were not ready to take on and I was not ready to take on as the CEO of a company. And I thought it would have been irresponsible,” Iger said at Vox Media’s Code Conference in Los Angeles.

The former chairman’s comments come amid Elon Musk’s battle with Twitter after he attempted to back out of the acquisition he initiated in April.

When Disney considered buying the social media platform, Iger said it was “intent on going into the streaming business” as “the world was changing fast.” But Disney at the time viewed Twitter as a “technology solution” and just one of many options they were considering as a delivery or distribution tool for all of Disney’s IP.

“Frankly, it would have been a phenomenal solution, distribution wise, then after we sold the whole concept of the Disney board and the Twitter board, and we’re really ready to execute the negotiation that was just about done. Interestingly enough, I went home, contemplated for a weekend, and thought I’m not looking at this as carefully as I need to look at it. Yes, it’s a great solution from a distribution perspective. But it would come with so many other challenges and complexities that as a manager of a great global brand I was not prepared to take on,” he said. “Major distraction, and having to manage circumstances that weren’t even close to anything that we had faced before.”

Iger even noted that a “substantial portion, not a majority,” of Twitter’s users were not real, and that ultimately factored into the economics, but he said he didn’t remember just how many were fake users.

But Iger was also asked by convention host Kara Swisher what he thought of Musk’s chances to ultimately acquire Twitter, though he said he couldn’t get a read on the situation.

“I think he got close enough to it to really want it. Now the question is, will his want prevail,” Iger said. “Maybe he saw what I saw. Maybe he woke up one day and said I can’t handle this. Although he doesn’t seem like that type.”