NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Walt Disney (DIS) is going to continue to look at M&A options carefully as it comes into the spotlight after AT&T (T) announced that it was purchasing Time Warner (TWX), CEO Bob Iger said on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" on Friday morning. Shares of the entertainment company were higher in early afternoon trading on Friday, despite reporting a 2016 fourth quarter earnings and revenue miss after Thursday's closing bell.
In the past, Disney has chosen the "right assets" with Pixar, Marvel and Lucas and has "integrated them well," Iger noted. "The result of those three acquisitions is very, very obvious on the numbers we just released and what we talked about it in the future."
Going forward, Disney is particularly interested in companies that offer direct-to-consumer platforms for content, Iger said. "We're going to continue to look expansively in that regard and buy where there's a great opportunity to create more value."
On Thursday, Liberty Media (LMCA) Chairman John Malone told CNBC's David Faber that, now that Time Warner has been acquired, "Disney is the only big, very attractive, content-owning distribution company" that isn't controlled. Disney and ESPN will end up splitting up and then Apple (AAPL) will be "more interested" in Disney, Malone predicted.
In addition, Disney's outlook for ESPN is "very positive," particularly since its moving the channel to mobile platforms, Iger said. His comment comes as some investors are worried about ESPN's growth after Nielsen reported that Disney's sports cable channel lost 621,000 subscribers in one month.
"In a world that is obviously impacted by the use of the DVR and all kinds of shifts from networks to program viewing and new platforms emerging, live sports is still really popular," Iger argued. "The NFL, I know, a lot of talk about NFL ratings being down. You're still looking at the most popular sport that exists. So ESPN has the strongest menu of sports programming that exists."
During Disney's Q&A session on Thursday, Iger said they had a "more bullish position on the future of ESPN's sub base." Earlier today, TheStreet's Jim Cramer said on "Squawk on the Street" that if Iger is "more bullish" on ESPN sub base numbers, then he is also "more bullish" because of Iger's "credibility."
(Apple is held in Jim Cramer's charitable trust Action Alerts PLUS. See all of his holding with a free trial here.)
Separately, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author.
TheStreet Ratings team rates Disney as a Buy with a ratings score of B. This is driven by a number of strengths, which the team believes should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks the team covers.
You can view the full analysis from the report here: DISDIS data by YCharts