Disney takes 100% control of tech company BAMTech

Disney may be strapped for cash, but the company did manage to rustle up US$900m to acquire the remaining 15% stake in streaming tech company BAMTech earlier this month. The news of the deal, with BAMTech’s minority shareholder Major League Baseball (MLB), was only publicly disclosed yesterday in an SEC filing.

Disney already owns 85% of BAMTech, the group that provides the technological architecture that underpins all its direct to consumer services including Disney+ and Hulu. All told, the company has paid almost $4m for BAMTech, acquiring it incrementally across a series of deals that commenced in 2016.

BAMTech started life in 2000 as MLB Advanced Media, the digital division of the baseball league. It was a pioneer in streaming live video and helped redefine the distribution of sports rights. In 2015, MLB span off the division as BAMTech – which opened the way for Disney to take eventual control of the technology.

100% control of BAMTech must be seen as a strategic priority by the Disney board. The new US$900 comes at a time when the company is engaged in a major restructuring exercise under new CEO Bob Iger. Iger has said that the company is not currently in the market for major acquisitions and will be freezing most areas of recruitment.

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