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Summit: Tech challenges yield better companies

Disney's Kevin Mayer talks M&A discipline, strategy in keynote sesh

Kevin Mayer, executive VP of corporate strategy and business development at Disney, observed that the entertainment industry was caught by surprise by the many ways technology has changed the game in showbiz, but the recovery process has made congloms like Disney better companies.

“I think it’s a very healthy thing,” he told moderator Michael Kassan, CEO of Medialink, on Monday at Variety’s Entertainment and Technology Summit at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Marina del Rey.

Mayer touted the strategic discipline Disney brings to acquisitions from Marvel to Playdom. He cited the divestiture of Miramax as a tough challenge given the egos involved. “That was a difficult one,” he said. “It was a long, hard road.”

He noted that there’s value in allowing the companies absorbed to maintain their own identity or operations. “We don’t like to bring them in and just acculturate them entirely,” he said.

Mayer lamented the loss of Steve Jobs, who served on Disney’s board.

“He kept us on our toes, very sharp guy,” said Mayer. “He wanted us to think big.”

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