Before his death in 2011, Steve Jobs was the biggest shareholder of Disney stock thanks to the fact that Disney acquired his company, Pixar, in 2006. But before Disney and Pixar merged together, things weren’t always so rosy between Steve and Disney.
Steve Jobs and Disney CEO Bob Iger eventually had a great relationship, but in the early days, Steve Jobs wasn’t afraid to release an atomic bomb of cruelty on Disney. He would even call Bob Iger on Saturdays just tell him that his films sucked.
Steve’s disdain for Disney stemmed from hardball negotiations between himself and Iger’s predecessor, Michael Eisner. The two had a series of feuds as Steve Jobs tried to negotiate better distribution deals. The relationship between Pixar and Disney went sour fast and the two companies stopped talking.
Once Iger took over Disney in 2006, one of the first people he called was Steve Jobs to see if the two companies could salvage their relationship.
According to a recent interview, Iger says that Jobs was relentlessly honest and candid during their talks. Jobs would even call Iger up on Saturdays to say if a Disney movie he saw the night before had “sucked.”
That honesty and directness actually helped mend the relationship between Pixar and Disney, and saved Disney “a couple hundred thousand dollars” when they acquired Pixar in 2006 for $7.4 billion.
Bob Iger now sits on Apple’s Board of Directors and says he’s learned a lot by working with Steve Jobs on Pixar. Even though Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson that he was impressed with Iger’s honestly, Iger never got to hear those words from Steve himself, but finally learned it once he read the Steve Jobs biography.