Disney paid $900 million to Major League Baseball (MLB) earlier this month to buy out the league’s remaining 15% stake in the streaming firm BAMTech, according to an SEC filing made public Tuesday.
The transaction makes Disney a 100% owner of the streaming company that powers Disney+ and the firm’s other consumer services.
The SEC filing noted that MLB’s interest in BAMTech was recorded in the entertainment company’s financial statements at $828 million, and in November Disney bought out MLB’s stake for $900 million. Last week, Disney announced that Bob Iger is returning to the company as a CEO to replace Bob Chapek. As this transaction was undertaken earlier this month, it was probably one of the last big moves by Chapek.
In the filing, Disney said that Iger will “initiate organizational and operating changes within the Company to address the Board’s goals” in the coming months.
MLB founded MLB Advanced Media in 2000 to power its website and online streaming. It spun off the streaming division as BAMTech in 2015. A year later, Disney invested $1 billion for a 33% stake in BAMTech. In 2017, the entertainment conglomerate invested an additional $1.58 billion to acquire 42% more stake. In 2021, the National Hockey League (NHL) sold its 10% stake to Disney for $350 million — propelling Disney’s stake in BAMTech to 85%.
The move comes days before Disney+ is set to launch its ad-supported tier. In Q3 2022, the streaming service registered an increase of 12 million subscribers with a total of 164.2 million subscribers globally.