Disney Magic Comes to NYSE in IPO

Theme: Clients

Goldman Sachs leads Disney's initial public offering at a share price of US$13.88 on the New York Stock Exchange in 1957.

Walt Disney was a creative genius who revolutionized animation and film production and virtually invented the modern theme park business. He also made astute business decisions in building the empire that later became The Walt Disney Company. 

But there were hard lessons, too. Early in the company’s history, Disney’s prized cartoon character was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. After producing dozens of cartoons starring Oswald, Disney learned that he didn’t own the rights to Oswald, his distributor did. Going forward, Disney ensured that he owned and controlled the rights to all of his creations.

In the aftermath of losing Oswald, Disney and his chief animator, Ub Iwerks, brought to life a replacement: Mickey Mouse. After a few silent films starring Mickey failed to sell, the team added synchronized sound and the legend of the famous mouse was born.

Although Disney issued over-the-counter stock (as Walt Disney Productions) in 1940, it was not until November 12, 1957 that Goldman Sachs co-led the Disney IPO at a share price of US$13.88 on the New York Stock Exchange. The timing seemed right as Disney had opened its groundbreaking theme park Disneyland in California just two years earlier.

This relationship continued into the twenty-first century as the firm has served as advisor to The Walt Disney Company on transactions such as the acquisition of Marvel Entertainment (2009), Lucasfilm Ltd. (2012) and Twenty-First Century Fox’s television and film studios, cable and international TV businesses (2018).



This article was originally published as part of a series commemorating the 150th anniversary of Goldman Sachs' founding in 1869.