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Walt Disney Makes a Surprise Massive Purchase

The Mouse House has steadily grown its business by making major acquisitions, and now it's made another one in a very surprising way.

While Walt Disney's (DIS) - Get Free Report film business has been defined not by the company's classic lineup of animated stars, but by the army of well-known characters the Mouse House has purchased. While the company has done a good job bringing back some of its animated classics as live-action films, its biggest hits have been through acquisitions which include:

  • Pixar (2006): $7.4 billion
  • Marvel (2009): $4 billion
  • Lucasfilm (2012): $4 billion

While those numbers seemed big at the time, Disney stole all three companies. Just the first four "Avengers" movies -- not including any of the other Marvel films, television shows, or merchandise -- brought in nearly $8 billion in global box office. Pixar has done nearly $10 billion in box office since being purchased.

While Star Wars films have been a mixed bag, they still have delivered nearly $4 billion in global box office while the franchise arguably launched the Disney+ streaming service with "The Mandalorian." Disney, of course, also bought ABC in 1995 for $19 billion, which landed the company not just the broadcast network, but also ESPN.

And while Mickie, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and the rest have been staples of Disney's children's programming, those classic characters have not been major drivers for the company in film or television. Yes, those assets have helped at its theme parks, but even there, those characters have been more icing on the cake that's now built around Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel.

Disney Ship Lead KL 111722

Disney Makes a Major Purchase

While Disney has been active in making intellectual property purchases, it has not bought its way to success in theme parks or its cruise line. In those areas, rather than buying existing properties, the company has opted to build from the ground up.

Now, the company has made an exception to that as it has purchased a partially completed cruise ship. Currently known as the Global Dream, the 70%-completed ship became available when former owner Genting Hong Kong filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.

Disney will work with the Meyer Werft shipbuilding company to complete the cruise ship in Wismar, Germany. "The ship will be renamed with certain features reimagined under the world-renowned expertise of Walt Disney Imagineers and is expected to set sail in 2025," the company shared in a press release.

“Our cruise ships give us the unique opportunity to bring Disney magic to fans no matter where they are, and the addition of this ship will make a Disney Cruise Line vacation accessible to more families than ever before,” said Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro.

Disney Has Big Dreams for the New Ship

This type of move is not unheard of in the cruise industry. Sometimes a cruise line sells a ship to a competitor and when a company goes bankrupt its ships (both existing and completed) often get purchased.

Royal Caribbean Group (RCL) - Get Free Report bought a high-end luxury ship called the Endeavour earlier this year, which had been originally delivered to the now-bankrupt Crystal Cruises in 2021. The ship was renamed Silver Endeavour when it joined Royal Caribbean's Silversea Cruises fleet.

And, while Royal Caribbean did not have to make major changes to Endeavour, Disney plans a major overhaul for Global Dream.

"The new ship, to be based outside the United States, will feature innovative Disney experiences along with the dazzling entertainment, world-class dining, and legendary guest service that set Disney Cruise Line apart. The exterior will be adorned in the iconic, Mickey Mouse-inspired colors of the fleet, complete with signature red funnels," Disney shared.

Global Dream will be one of the first cruise ships powered by green methanol, which Disney described as "one of the lowest emission fuels available." Disney Cruise Line expects the passenger capacity to be approximately 6,000 with around 2,300 crew members.