The Walt Disney Company began as The Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio in 1923 when Walt Disney signed a contract to produce a series of comedy cartoons known as the Alice Comedies.
Universal Studios began before Disney, in 1912, and was the merged creation of several other production companies including Independent Moving Pictures and the New York Motion Picture Company.
Both companies now belong to Hollywood’s Big 6 film studios, which produce and distribute hundreds of films each year across the globe.
Both Disney and Universal have theme parks with attractions centered around their most popular films.
In 1927, Walt Disney was under contract to create a series of cartoons featuring Oswald The Lucky Rabbit, at the same time he was creating Steamboat Willie, a precursor to Mickey Mouse.
Does Disney Own Universal?
Disney owns many other film companies like Pixar, ABC, and ESPN, but Universal has never been one of them. Universal Studios is owned by NBCUniversal, one of Disney’s main competitors, and is in no way connected to the Walt Disney Company.
NBCUniversal, the owner of Universal, is owned by Comcast. This means that Universal is owned by Comcast. Comcast also owns Xfinity, NBC, Dreamworks, and many others.
The Walt Disney Company is not owned by a parent company, like Universal, and is a publicly-traded company, its largest shareholder being Vanguard Group Inc, an investment company based in Pennsylvania.
Who Owns Universal?
Universal Pictures is owned by NBCUniversal, which also owns NBC, USA Network, Telemundo, and Peacock. NBCUniversal is owned by the parent company Comcast, the largest cable provider in the US.
Comcast officially purchased NBCUniversal in 2013. It had been buying stock in the company for years, reaching 51% in 2011. Comcast made the decision to make it official and bought out 100% of NBC in March 2013.
80% of Universal was sold to NBC’s parent company (at the time) General Electric in 2004, including its studio and theme parks. Vivendi had a remaining 20% stake and was completely bought out by GE in 2011.
Does Comcast Have A Relationship With Disney?
A deal was made in 2020 that allows Comcast to distribute Disney+ and ESPN+ through its cable platforms Xfinity X1 and Flex.
In 2019, Comcast gave operational control of the streaming service Hulu to The Walt Disney Company but kept its 33% stake, with plans to potentially sell the remaining stake by 2024.
Although Disney and NBCUniversal are technically competitors on the theme park and film industry fronts, Disney realizes a friendly situation with Comcast is in its best interest.
Comcast, the largest cable provider in the US, has a certain amount of power over what streaming services are available on its platforms, including the ones owned by Disney.
What Companies Does Disney Own?
The Walt Disney Company, one of the largest Hollywood studios, owns quite a few other film companies including:
- 20 Century
- ABC Entertainment
- National Geographic
- Marvel Studios
- Touchstone Pictures
Disney also owns a few film franchises and brands, most directly related to one of its child companies.
Does Disney Own Any Shares In Comcast?
Disney does not own any stakes in the parent company Comcast although both companies own a stake in Hulu.
Companies with the highest stakes in Comcast include The Vanguard Group with over 372 million shares owned, Capital Research & Management Co, with 226 million shares owned, and BlackRock Fund Advisors with over 190 million shares owned.
Are Disney And Universal Competitors?
Disney and NBCUniversal are competitors, both owning a large chunk of the film industry as well as theme parks.
With the launch of Peacock in 2020, NBCUniversal’s streaming service, Disney and Universal are now competitors in the ever-growing streaming services industry.
However, with Disney+ accumulating over 116 million subscribers to Peacock’s 33 million, the latter has a lot of catching up to do to become a main competitor in the field.
What Is The Connection Between Disney And Universal?
Besides the aforementioned squabble over Walt Disney’s Oscar the Lucky Rabbit, Disney and Universal have had an ongoing competition over theme parks.
There have also been, in the past, messy connections between the two over the rights to Marvel and its characters. Universal had been given the right to use those characters in its theme parks long before Disney acquired the film franchise.
Will Disney Ever Acquire Universal?
In what seems like an unending and complicated game of Monopoly, both Comcast and Disney have spent decades gobbling up film companies and buying up stakes in even more. However, it is apparent that Disney will not acquire Universal Pictures anytime soon.
With Universal and NBCUniversal now owned by the huge parent company Comcast, we have seen the two companies working together for mutual benefit.
The sense of friendly competition, at this point, could bring about some interesting deals between the two in the future.
Most common questions on Disney ownership:
- Does Disney Own Hulu?
- Does Disney Own Pixar?
- Does Disney Own Legoland?
- Does Disney Own FOX?
- Does Disney Own Marvel?
- Does Disney Own Universal?
Benjamin is a certified financial advisor, with over 10 years of experience in the industry. He is knowledgeable about various business and financial topics, such as retirement planning and investment management. Ben has been recognized for his work in the financial planning industry. He has also been featured in various publications.