Who Owns Disney?

Don’t we all just love and cherish the wonderful cartoon characters and some brilliant movies Disney has given to us? It’s no news that the Disney brothers have passed away. Does that make you wonder who owns Disney now?

Today with a number of the biggest companies under its belt, including Marvel Entertainment, and Animation Studios, among others, Disney remains the pioneer of the entertainment industry to date.

How did it all start? What all companies do Disney owns today? We have made sure none of your questions remain unanswered!

Who Owns Disney

A Glimpse At Disney’s Ownership History

A Glimpse At Disney's Ownership History

Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, known as the Walt Disney Co today, was founded by Walt Disney and his brother Roy O. Disney in the year 1923.

However, Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio was not the first endeavor of Walt Disney. Prior to Disney, Walt had another studio named Laugh-O-Gram Studio which went bankrupt in the year 1923.

Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio was founded nearly 100 years ago as a small animation studio, and today it has become one of the largest media and entertainment companies in the world.

Today, Disney not only runs a theme park but also produces and distributes tv shows, movies, cartoons, and other content, including music and videos.

Additionally, Disney also owns many major studios and television networks and is credited for giving us some of the best cartoon characters, Micky Mouse, Goofy, and Donald Duck, as well as the entire Marvel Universe, LucasFilms’s, and The Muppets, among others.

Walt Disney and his brother owned the company, but after the death of Walt Disney in 1966, Roy ran the company for a brief period.

An interesting story:


The Launch Of Disney’s IPO

The Walt Disney Company launched its IPO on November 18, 1957. Before launching the IPO, the Disney brothers had 100% ownership of the company, and this decision altered things a lot for the two.

Launching the IPO, however, was necessary as it allowed the Disney brothers to grow and expand their company. After the IPO launch, 7.5 million shares were offered to the public for $13.88 per share

Much to their wish, Disney’s IPO was a huge success, and right on the first day of trading, the stock price jumped to $40, making the market value of Disney a whopping $400 million.

The capital raised from the IPO was then used to fund the expansion and construction of Disney Land, which opened in 1955. The money also allowed the company to carry out many major acquisitions.


Companies Owned By Disney

Companies Owned By Disney

Apart from Disney’s biggest acquisition of Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox, and Marvel Entertainment, among others, Disney also acquired some other companies that are worth discussing:

ESPN, ABC & Other Networks

The ties between the Walt Disney Company and The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) go back to the 1950s.

In 1954, Disney agreed to produce a regular television series for ABC, and in return, ABC invested $500,000 and a guarantee of $4.5 million in loans to Disney for the creation of the Disneyland theme park.

This made ABC one-third owner of Disneyland during that time. But in the 1960s Disney bought back ABC’s investment for $7.5 million, and consequently, the two companies merged in 1996.

Thanks to the merger with ABC, Disney also got ownership of the huge ABC network, including The History Channel, ESPN, A&E Network, ABC Radio, Lifetime Television, and a publishing group.

During the later years, Disney sold the publishing group as well as ABC Radio. 

Pixar

After a brief tiff between Pixar and Disney in the 2000s, Disney acquired Pixar in 2006 for $7.6 billion.

Under the new leadership of Steve Jobs as the director and CEO Bob Iger, Pixar continued producing award-winning films realized by Disney for years. During Iger’s tenure, Disney also acquired Lucasfilm, Marvel, and 21st Century Fox.

Marvel Entertainment

In 2009, Disney bought Marvel Entertainment studio for $4 billion, and this also gave Disney ownership of Marvel Comics and all other characters and IPs, including Marvel Cinematic Universe.

After the release of the Iron Man movie, eventually, the Marvel Cinematic Universe ended up becoming the highest-grossing film franchise.

LucasFilm

Disney acquired LucasFilm for $4.05 billion in 2012, which gave Disney the ownership of Indiana Jones, StarWars, and other entertainment assets, including LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, among others.

21st Century Fox

Disney Acquired 21st Century Fox for a whopping $71.3 billion in 2019, which was most likely Disney’s biggest acquisition. Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox included 20th Century Fox Television productions, 20th Century Fox, Blue Sky Studios, Fox Searchlight, Fox 2000, the cable network FXX, the cable network FX, among others.

National Geographic Partners LLC

When National Geographic Society partnered with 21st Century Fox, it granted the ownership of National Geographic Magazine and other related networks to 21st Century Fox.

And when Disney acquired 21st Century Fox in 2019, the majority of its stake transferred to Disney as well, including the ownership of National Geographic Kids, National Geographic Magazine, National Geographic TV, Nat Geo People, Nat Geo Maps, Nat Geo Wild, and Under the Stars.

A&E (Arts & Entertainment Network)

A&E is best known for its reality shows and documentaries and is owned under a 50/50 agreement by Disney and Hearst Communications. 

Steamboat Ventures

Steamboat Ventures, founded in 2000, is a venture capitalist arm of The Walt Disney Company named after the Mickey Mouse cartoon, “Steamboat Willie.”

This company helps young companies in their initial growth years to become leaders in the market.

10 years ago, Steamboat Ventures even invested in GoPro, which became the biggest consumer electronics IPO on record.

VICE Media

Disney owns a 16% stake in VICE Media and the TV network VICE. Another 20% of the company is under A&E Networks, of which Disney has a 50% joint ownership.

Disney already has a 30% minor stake in Hulu, and its acquisition of Fox’s Entertainment also granted Disney a 60% control ownership in Hulu. However, the question that is creating concern is that Is Hulu profitable for Disney.

It will be interesting to see in the near future if Disney would acquire the rest of Comcast’s stake in Hulu, making Disnety the owner of Disney+ and Hulu.


Who Owns Disney Currently?

Since Disney is a publicly traded company, it is not owned by one single person but by multiple shareholders instead.

According to CNN Business News, the largest shareholder of Disney is the Vanguard Group, Inc., with a 7.49% stake in the company, followed by BlackRock Fund Advisors and SSgA Funds Management, Inc., among others.


Current Stakeholder’s Of Disney

Current Stakeholder's Of Disney

Let us have a look at some of the largest shareholders of Disney:

The Vanguard Group, Inc.

The Vanguard Group, Inc. is one of the biggest investment companies with holdings in over 440 companies, including Bank of America, AT&T, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Wells Fargo & Co., HP, and of course, Walt Disney.

And as mentioned, this company holds a 7.49% stake in Disney, which represents 136,614,265 shares, which have a total value of $11,869,047,343.

BlackRock Fund Advisors

BlackRock Fund Advisors is a subsidiary of BlackRock, Inc. which is also one of the largest investment management firms in the world.

As per reports, BlackRock Fund Advisors has a 4.09% stake in Walt Disney, which represents 74,577,472 shares valued at $6,479,290,767. 

SSgA Funds Management, Inc.

A subsidiary of State Street Corporation, SSgA Funds Management, Inc. is one of the biggest names in the global asset management industry.

This company owns a 3.84% stake in Disney which equates to 69,950,715 shares, valued at $6,077,318,119.

Christine M. McCarthy 

Christine M. McCarthy is a seasoned professional who has served a number of firms before joining Disney.

She joined Disney in the year 1995 as a Vice President, and after her instrumental contribution towards the growth of Disney, she is currently the Senior Executive Vice President and CFO at Disney.

She is also one of the major shareholders of Disney, with estimated shares amounting to 165,707. 

Brent Woodford

Brent Woodford is the Executive Vice President of Disney and holds an estimated 28,000 shares in the company currently.


11 Secrets of Disney


Wrap Up

Even though Walt Disney is no longer owned by the founders and has now become a publicly traded company, it still continues to be the trailblazer of the entertainment industry.

Thanks to the decision of the founders to list the company on the stock exchange, Disney has today expanded immensely into the market with companies like Marvel, and 20th Century Fox, among others, under its belt.

With Disney’s impressive track record, it is fair to assume the company will only rise higher in the future as well.

We hope now you know who owns Disney.


FAQs

Who owns the majority stake in Disney?

As mentioned already, with a 7.46% stake, The Vanguard Group, Inc. owns the majority stake in Walt Disney Company.

Does Disney family still owns Disney?

Roy Patrick Disney, the grand-nephew of Walt Disney’s, owned 20% of the company in the year 1920, but sadly today, the family owns less than 3% of the company.

How much is the stake of Steve Jobs in Disney?

Steve Jobs had a 7% stake in Disney once, but in January 2006, he sold his stake to Disney for $7.4 billion.

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