Wedbush says Apple definitely plans to acquire ESPN

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After a new roundup of rumors saying Apple might buy Disney (spoiler: it will not), Wedbush analyst Dan Ives is a bit more realistic about his predictions. He believes the Cupertino firm could actually be aiming to buy ESPN.

On CNBC‘s Last Call show (via AppleInsider), the Wedbush analyst says it’s a “matter of when, not if ESPN and Apple get together,” as he believes both companies are a “perfect fit.” Ives calls live sports content the “golden goose” Apple is pursuing.

While some analysts say Disney’s CEO Bob Iger is “cleaning the house” to prepare for major sales, Apple could be preparing to take advantage of that and offer a deal. Ultimately, it could make sense as the Cupertino firm wants to expand its sports offering. Since Lionel Messi joined one of the MLS teams, Apple TV+ subscriptions have doubled, and a deal with ESPN could instantly make Apple’s streaming service the house of live sports.

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“We believe Apple would be much more interested in the ESPN asset than Disney overall as Cupertino is focused on a number of other key strategic initiatives with an acquisition of the Mouse not making a ton of sense in our view,” Ives wrote in a note seen by AppleInsider. “That said, acquiring ESPN ($50 billion+ price tag likely) would make a ton of strategic sense, gain valuable sports content, major TV rights across each of the major professional and college sports packages, and change the cross-sell opportunities and attractiveness of Apple TV looking ahead while putting Apple on the sports map globally speaking.”

If that happens, this would be Apple’s major acquisition, as the last big purchase the company made was Beats almost a decade ago.

“It’s a new age,” Daniel Ives said. “And I think when you look at Apple, I mean, you’re talking about coming here historically has never done acquisitions of this size, but you have 200 billion that they could ultimately go after and more.”

Since Ives believes this deal could happen six to nine months from now, we won’t have to wait much to see the next steps. In the meantime, Apple and Disney will continue to prepare different partnerships, as the Cupertino firm will launch its Vision Pro spatial computer in early 2024, and the Mouse company said it will be present on day one on the mixed reality platform.

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