Kevin Mayer, executive VP, corporate strategy and business development, Walt Disney Co.

Dealmakers Impact Report 2012: Corporate Strategists

Acquisitions maven Mayer says that Disney has three criteria for major buys, which the $4.05 billion purchase of Lucasfilm in October certainly met: the acquired company must have creative capabilities, assets with global appeal, and ability to make products for consumer reach. The Lucasfilm buy surprised the world because it was kept secret, which the Disney executive VP says is “remarkable” given that various Disney insiders were pulled into the evaluation process. Since joining Disney in 2005, Mayer has been involved in eight sizeable acquisitions, including the Pixar Animation and Marvel Entertainment buys; the count swells to over 20 deals when smaller ones are included. He also works on divestitures such as the $663 million sale of Miramax in 2010 and the $2.7 billion sale of ABC Radio in 2007. Overseas transactions are particularly challenging because expert outside law firms can give conflicting opinions on applicability of local regulations. “Laws are sometimes not well defined and case law is sparse,” he says.

Outside the Office: Earned degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering.

Top Cause: Starlight Children’s Foundation

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