Steve Jobs told Disney's Bob Iger about cancer recurrence 30 minutes before Pixar deal

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2015
An upcoming book reveals Steve Jobs informed Disney boss Bob Iger in 2006 that his cancer had returned, a secret Iger kept for three years until the information went public.


Steve Jobs and Bob Iger in 2007.


According to the forthcoming biography "Becoming Steve Jobs," Jobs dropped the bombshell just minutes before he and Iger were scheduled to announce Disney's $7.4 billion acquisition of Pixar.

"Bob, there's something really important I've got to tell you," Jobs reportedly said. "My cancer is back."

The revelation was aired in an excerpt of the book published by Fast Company on Friday. The publication's executive editor veteran Rick Tetzeli co-authored Jobs' biography with technology journalist and Fortune writer Brent Schlender.

When Iger received the news, Jobs' condition was only known by his wife and doctor. With a major acquisition that would make Jobs Disney's single largest shareholder just minutes away, Iger had a tough call to make.

Iger recalled the conversation:
He said, "I've made myself a promise that I'm going to be alive for Reed's graduation from high school." [Reed is Jobs's eldest son.]

So I say, of course, "How old is Reed?"

He tells me that Reed is fourteen, and will be graduating in four years. He says, "Frankly, they tell me I've got a fifty-fifty chance of living five years."

"Are you telling me this for any other reason than wanting to get it off your chest?" I asked.

He says, "I'm telling you because I'm giving you a chance to back out of the deal."
Iger also recalled Jobs saying, "My kids don't know. Not even the Apple board knows. Nobody knows, and you can't tell anybody."

Iger assessed risk to shareholders and went through with the deal, only notifying Disney vice president and general counsel Alan Braverman of the development.

A separate report on Friday from Bloomberg, which obtained an advance copy of the biography, adds color to the story, saying Iger told Jobs, ""You're our largest shareholder, but I don't think that makes this matter. You're not material to this deal. We're buying Pixar, we're not buying you."

Over the ensuing years, Iger grew close to Jobs and was ultimately given a seat on Apple's board in 2011.

"I always knew exactly what was going on with Steve medically," Iger said.

"Becoming Steve Jobs" is available for preorder through Amazon.com and the iTunes iBookstore.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13

    1. Holy cow, will there be any surprises in this book when I get it.

     

    2. I definitely don't see it as having been a risk to shareholders. Steve was supportive at Pixar, but Lasseter was the creative genius there, and just like Apple was able to survive without Steve, Pixar definitely could.

  • Reply 2 of 13
    Yeah. I can't wait to read this. I really hope there is more within this book that stays until I get the chance to open it up.
  • Reply 3 of 13
    Up.

    What a great film. It was thanks to Jobs singing its praises that I saw it. Finding Nemo is excellent, too.
  • Reply 4 of 13
    irelandireland Posts: 17,743member
    Quote:
     My cancer is back. It's worse this time. Life's tough isn't it? ————— Can I have $7.4B?


     

  • Reply 5 of 13
    imemineimemine Posts: 12member
    This was already revealed in Isaacson's book.
  • Reply 6 of 13
    Steve's honesty and integrity are something we all can aspire to.
  • Reply 7 of 13
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    I haven't wanted to read Isaacson's book, or watch any movie that has come out after Job's death, but this book seems to have a lot of excellent tidbits.
  • Reply 8 of 13
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,418member

    I kinda hate that this sort of story fascinates me...

  • Reply 9 of 13
    "I'm telling you because I'm giving you the chance to back out of the deal." Man, that was decent of him.
  • Reply 10 of 13
    irelandireland Posts: 17,743member
    "I'm telling you because I'm giving you the chance to back out of the deal." Man, that was decent of him.

    To be fair one could easily read this cynically. This was something Jobs would have known that had he lived and not mentioned this the legal repercussions could have been pretty severe.
  • Reply 11 of 13
    . Nah, I don't think so. See, right then, he knew he was definitely going to die soon. No question about that. He told him that, because he was looking out for the best intrests of his friend.
  • Reply 12 of 13
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,251member
    1. Holy cow, will there be any surprises in this book when I get it.

    2. I definitely don't see it as having been a risk to shareholders. Steve was supportive at Pixar, but Lasseter was the creative genius there, and just like Apple was able to survive without Steve, Pixar definitely could.

    Yes, and despite the media belief to the contrary at the time of SJ's death, one of his many great talents was building companies, and teams to run those companies, that were not dependent upon him.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,251member
    "I'm telling you because I'm giving you the chance to back out of the deal." Man, that was decent of him.
    ireland wrote: »
    To be fair one could easily read this cynically. This was something Jobs would have known that had he lived and not mentioned this the legal repercussions could have been pretty severe.

    I'd say there is truth in both view points. They are not mutually exclusive IMHO.
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