The ultimate guide to the assets and companies owned by Disney
The number of companies owned by Disney is astronomical. Not only is the company the second-largest media brand in the world, but it’s also one of the most profitable organizations around. Though it started life as a humble animation studio, Disney has evolved drastically over the decades.
You’re probably already familiar with some of the more obvious companies Disney owns, such as Walt Disney Studios, various Disney cruise lines and parks, and the Disney+ streaming services. But Disney also holds an ownership stake in dozens of other organizations.
Today, we’re going to take a closer look at some of the most significant international holdings of the Disney company, to give you an insight into just how big this conglomerate is.
How many companies does Disney own? Disney company map
The Walt Disney company (or Disney) is one of the biggest entertainment companies that has ever existed. It’s best-known for Walt Disney Studios, the company known for producing some of the world’s best-known animated films, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to the Lion King.
However, over a little more than a century, the company has also expanded into various other ventures, through mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships.
The companies Disney owns range from well-known television networks, like Fox, to Disney theme parks, and film companies like Lucasfilm, and Marvel Studios. This has helped expand Disney’s intellectual properties far beyond its home-made characters.
There are more than 200 companies in Disney’s asset collection today, and these organizations are owned both directly, and indirectly by the Disney company. Disney is also ranked as one of the world’s most admired companies, thanks largely to its ever-growing empire.
Which companies does Disney own? Who does Disney own?
Listing all of the companies owned by Disney would take forever. As of 2023, Disney has separated its assets into three primary segments. First, we have Disney Entertainment, which includes all of the company’s film and TV assets, as well as streaming services like ESPN and Disney+.
Next, there’s the Disney Parks segment. Interestingly, Disney doesn’t have complete ownership over every Disney theme park (we’ll come back to that in a moment). However, it does maintain a position in most Disney theme park properties around the world.
Finally, Disney also owns a variety of “experiences and products”. This includes things like the Disney Music Group and Walt Disney Records, and various other products like Marvel Games.
Here’s an insight into some of the biggest companies Disney owns.
Which television networks does Disney own?
You’re probably already aware of some of the Disney television networks. Disney Television Animation, Disney XD, Disney Junior, and the Disney channel are all obvious assets. However, Disney also owns some other major entities in the television world.
The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) and Disney have had a long-standing relationship, dating back to the 1950s. In 1954, Walt Disney himself agreed to produce regular television series for the network, and ABC made an investment in Disneyland in return.
Eventually, Disney purchased ABC’s stake in Disneyland (for a price of $7.5 million), and in 1995, they announced a merger of the two companies.
The acquisition granted Disney complete ownership of the ABC network, including ABC Radio, and ABC news, as well as percentages in ESPN. The Disney brand now has an 80% controlling share of ESPN, and all of its various sports-focused services.
Disney’s purchase of ABC also gave it percentages in the A&E network, the History Channel, Lifetime Television, and an ABC publishing network. The A&E network is best-known for its documentaries and reality shows.
Does Disney own National Geographic?
The National Geographic, or “Nat Geo” network was one of the many assets Disney obtained when it acquired 21st Century Fox during 2019. The National Geographic Society formed a partnership with 21st Century Fox in 2003, which gave the Fox network majority ownership over various assets.
These assets, which include the National Geographic television network, and the Nat Geo magazine, were then passed onto Disney in 2019. Notably, Disney owns around 73% of the National Geographic network today, while the National Geographic Society owns the other 27%.
However, the operational management of the channel is still handled by the Walt Disney Television subsidiary. This is why many National Geographic documentaries are now available to view on the Disney+ streaming platform.
The Nat Geo network gives Disney majority ownership over Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Maps, Nat Geo People, National Geographic TV, National Geographic Kids, and Under the Stars.
Is Star Wars owned by Disney?
Disney’s acquisition of the Star Wars franchise was one of the most exciting purchases made by the company in recent years. In 2012, Disney announced it would be purchasing George Lucas’ company, “Lucasfilm” for approximately $4.05 billion.
Notably, the acquisition didn’t just give Disney access to the full Star Wars franchise, it also allowed the company to take over the Indiana Jones franchise too. At the same time, the Disney buyout of Lucasfilm gave the Disney company various other assets to experiment with.
With Lucasfilm, Disney now has ownership of the production company, but it also has an ownership state in the special effects house, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). Plus, Disney now owns the sound effects and editing company, Skywalker Sound.
The acquisition also gave Disney access to Lucasfilm’s game development and publishing wing, LucasArts, though this was shut down in 2013. However, the Lucasfilm brand updated its gaming division to “Lucasfilm Games” in 2021.
Does Disney own Pixar Studios?
Disney is responsible for a huge variety of different publishing and media studios. You’re probably already familiar with well-known assets like Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Walt Disney Pictures. However, Disney is also responsible for another well-known company: Pixar.
Disney first signed a three picture deal with Pixar in 1993. The films won 19 academy awards, and earned more than $3 billion at the box office.
Unfortunately, by the 2000s, the relationship between the two brands had begun to fray. Despite a range of successful past collaborations, the Pixar CEO began looking for new partnerships. After Disney took on new leadership in 2006 (Bob Iger), the relationship began to be rebuilt.
Iger started to mend fences with Pixar, and in 2006, the Disney company announced a $7.4 billion purchase of the Pixar brand. This brings various well-known assets, like Toy Story, and Finding Nemo from Pixar animation studios into the Disney world.
Is Marvel Entertainment owned by Disney?
Marvel is another of the major companies Disney owns today. Marvel now exists as a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studio, and Disney Entertainment. The purchase of Marvel Studios was completed in 2009, for a price of around $4 billion, just slightly less than the price of Lucasfilm.
The purchase granted Disney ownership over all of the Marvel Comics assets, including the publishing house, as well as the Marvel Studios Cinematic Universe. Disney also owns all of the various Ips and characters in the Marvel Universe.
Additionally, now that Disney own Marvel, they also own a variety of Marvel games and products, produced using the company’s Ips and characters.
Interestingly, Disney acquired Marvel just at the concept of the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” was beginning to explode. The purchase happened just after the first Iron Man movie was released.
This meant Disney was able to get in on the ground floor of the entertainment company, before the MCU became the highest grossing film franchise in history.
Does Disney own 21st Century Fox?
The purchase of 21st century Fox was one of the most recent acquisitions made by Disney. While Disney has purchased a lot of companies over the years, this particular acquisition made waves in the entertainment industry.
Completed in 2019, the acquisition cost Disney $71.3 billion, making it one of the biggest media purchases ever made by the Disney brand. The acquisition came at a time when Fox was looking to offload its entertainment assets to another brand.
In 2017, the deal was announced, representing a major opportunity for Disney. The acquisition of 21st Century Fox gave Disney access to 20th Century Fox, the Fox Movie studio, 20th Century Fox Television Productions, and Fox Television Animation.
Disney also owns a variety of other assets under the Fox banner, including the FX cable network, FXX, Blue Sky Studios, and Star India. Plus, Disney gained another 30% share of the streaming company, Hulu, giving it yet another position in the streaming landscape.
Before purchasing Fox, Disney already had a 30% stake in Hulu, which meant its purchase increased its shareholdings to a majority, controlling share.
Interestingly, Comcast, the parent company of NBCUniversal, has a minority share in Hulu and will have the option to sell this to Disney in 2024.
Who does Disney own in the music world?
The companies Disney owns spread far beyond the movie and television landscape. Disney’s various acquisitions, as well as its own IPs gives it a strong presence in the music space.
Disney owns Marvel Music, as well as the Disney Music Publishing group. This group is responsible for Pixar Music, Touchstone Pictures Music, Wonderland Music, and various other assets. Plus, Disney also owns Walt Disney Records, Hollywood Recordings, and Buena Vista Records.
The Disney company is also responsible for the American record label, “Hollywood” Records. This subsidiary focuses on pop, rock, alternative, country, and hip-hop genres.
The company was first founded in 1989, and is responsible for some of the better-known musical producers in the world. Disney even owns the music catalog for the band Queen.
The creation of Hollywood Records was based on the fact that many of the musical assets Disney chose to acquire wouldn’t fit under the child-focused Disney labels.
Does Disney own Steamboat Ventures?
Steamboat Ventures is one of the more obscure assets owned by Disney today. This is the “venture capitalist” arm of the Walt Disney Company, launched in 2000. It was named after the debut Mickey Mouse animation, “Steamboat Willie”.
The company is committed to helping young companies find the funding and support they need to become leaders in their chosen markets. A lot of information about Disney’s ownership stake in the various companies supported by Steamboat Ventures is still hidden.
However, it’s worth noting that many of the companies the organization funds aren’t located in the media industry. For instance, some of the better-known companies funded by Steamboat Ventures include Kapow Software, GreyStrike, VoodooVox, and Elemental Technologies.
One of the most significant ventures supported by this company was “GoPro”, the sports camera making company. Steamboat Ventures raised more than $427 million for the company, which was reported at the time to be the biggest consumer electronics IPO on record.
Does Disney own any YouTube channels?
Disney has been investing in digital entertainment and streaming for longer than most people realize. Even before it started Disney+, and began building its ownership of platforms like Hulu and Star, Disney started branching out into the YouTube space.
In 2009, the company founded “Maker Studios” and signed more than 1,000 channels to its YouTube network. The channels under the brand earned about 90 million subscribers originally. In 2012, Maker Studios even surpassed Machinima as the number one YouTube network.
Later, Disney absorbed Maker Studios into its newly formed “Disney Digital Network”. This network was responsible for a variety of well-known YouTube stars, including Markiplier, Ray William Johnson, JonTron, and many others.
Unfortunately, this network went defunct in 2019, as the Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution company began moving away from the YouTube platform.
Some of the other companies owned by Disney
So far, we’ve covered just a handful of the companies owned and managed by Disney. However, the company’s range of assets is constantly growing. For instance, Disney has a minority stake in the VICE Media company, known for its popular range of docu-series shows.
Here are a few other Disney-owned companies you might be familiar with:
- Regency Enterprises (20% share)
- Buena Vista International
- Disney Theatrical Productions
- Golden Oak Ranch
- Prospect Studios
- Radio Disney
- Disney Mobile
- Searchlight Television
Which companies aren’t owned by Disney?
As the number of companies owned by Disney continues to increase, it’s almost easier to identify which major media brands don’t belong to the corporation.
At the time of writing, there are still some other major brands, companies, and radio stations that don’t belong to Disney:
Does Disney own Universal?
Universal Studios remains a competitor of the Disney brand. However, there have been some overlaps between the Universal company and the Disney brand in the past, such as with the Marvel Comic Book landscape. Universal Pictures actually predates Disney, and was first founded in 1912.
The Universal rights battle with Walt Disney over Oswald the Lucky Rabbit is one of the key components that spawned the creation of the Disney “Micky Mouse” character.
Does Disney own HBO?
Currently, Disney still doesn’t own HBO, though it will be interesting to see if the company attempts to earn a stake in the streaming service in the years ahead. The Home Box Office or “HBO” is owned by the Warner Bros Discovery brand.
Does Disney own Warner Bros?
So, is Warner Bros owned by Disney? Not yet. The CEO of Disney did try to purchase Warner Bros during 2016, but the deal was unsuccessful. The Warner Bros brand has a close relationship with Disney, and the two organizations have partnered on projects in the past.
For now, however, Warner Bros stands as a separate production company, and one of the five biggest film studios in America.
Does Disney own Dreamworks?
Dreamworks is one of the biggest animation and entertainment brands currently not owned by Disney. The company, as well as Universal Studios, belong to the media conglomerate NBCUniversal. NBCUniversal is also responsible for Telemundo, and the Syfy channel.
Who owns Disney world? Disney theme parks
As mentioned above, Disney’s assets aren’t limited to the entertainment world. The company also has an entire division dedicated to parks, experiences, and products. This division is responsible for the “Disney Store” experience, as well as Disney games and interactive experiences.
Notably, while most Disney parks and resorts are owned at least partially by the Disney company, not all of the theme parks are entirely Disney-owned.
Disneyland Resort is 100% owned by the Walt Disney Company, although Walt Disney himself only owned around 16.55% of the shares when the park was first constructed. By 1960, Disney had bought out its partners, and earned complete ownership.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the other Disney parks.
Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World is fully owned by the Disney corporation. However, like Disneyland, the theme park didn’t belong entirely to Disney in the beginning. The first two hotels created for the company were owned by U.S Steel (Polynesian Village and Disney’s Contemporary Resort).
Today, the legislature in Florida provides Disney with full control over the planning and development of the US-based property.
Tokyo Disneyland and Toyko DisneySea
Though Tokyo Disneyland, and Tokyo DisneySea both carry the Disney branding, they’re entirely owned and operated by the Oriental Land Company in Asia. The Oriental Land Company is owned by a variety of separate Japanese companies.
The resorts pay a licensing fee to Disney for both the use of characters and names. Additionally, Disney imagineers are still responsible for creating and designing the Park’s attractions. Disney also keeps employees on-site to maintain Disney standards.
Disneyland Paris remains the only Disney Park in Europe today. Until 2017, Disney shared ownership of this park with the Kingdom Holding Company. This brand owned around 23.3% of the park, and maintained some control over its construction.
However, in 2017, the Walt Disney Company bought enough shares of the stock to force a buy-out, and took over ownership 100%. Through the transitional period, the company continued to be owned and operated by the “Euro Disney” subsidiary.
Hong Kong and Shanghai Disneyland
The Hong Kong Disneyland park is owned as part of a partnership between the Hong Kong government and the Walt Disney Company. Disney currently owns about 47% of the park, while the government is responsible for the other 53%.
Though Disney is a minority shareholder in Hong Kong Disneyland, it does maintain control over the park, and preserves the standards of the experience.
Similar to the Hong Kong park, Shanghai’s version of Disneyland is owned by the Walt Disney Company in partnership with the Chinese government. This once again givers Disney a 43% share, and park operations are reserved for a management company, 70% owned by Disney.
The magical assets of the Walt Disney Company
Clearly, the number of companies owned by Disney is pretty impressive. While there are dozens of Disney labels under the brand that are easy to recognize, some are a lot more obscure.
While you might be familiar with things like the Micky Mouse club, Walt Disney Productions, and the Disney Music studios, Disney’s assets have spanned much further than most people realize.
From its acquisition of 21st Century Fox, to the purchase of Marvel Studios, Disney has constantly focused on expanding its IP assets, bringing more interactive media, tv shows, and experiences into the Disney brand.
Today, it’s hard to find many movie studios and family entertainment companies that aren’t aligned with the Disney brand at least on a small level.
Disney has earned its position as one of the biggest brands in the world.
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