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Bob Iger gives cryptic response to question about ESPN’s future ‘strategic partner’

Bob Iger scored a big win yesterday as Disney  (DIS)  fended off Nelson Peltz and his attempt to gain entry into the company’s board.

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Following his triumph, Iger sat down with David Faber of CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” to discuss a litany of topics which included fending of Peltz and his potential successor after his contract ends in 2026.

Iger also discussed ESPN — the prized sports network of Disney — which has faced a lot of questions about where it’s going over the past year. In July, Iger announced that the Worldwide Leaders in Sports was looking for a “strategic partner” to help with its content and distribution.

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Printable July Calendar

But there hasn’t been anything finalized ever since.

Related: Disney’s Bob Iger Makes Surprising Comments About ESPN

There have been reports that Disney was exploring deals with major tech firms like Apple and Amazon as well as telecom brands like Verizon. Even a partnership with major sports leagues like the NFL and NBA have been speculated.

And while the thought was that ESPN would be selling a small stake to its eventual strategic partner, the move has caused some to speculate that Disney might be willing to sell off the entire property.

Iger and Disney have not shown any indication that they’re looking to rid of ESPN completely, and in the interview with CNBC, stressed that ESPN is in a strong place.

Related: Disney is receiving serious interest from some big names about ESPN

“ESPN is a phenomenal brand,” Iger said. “A lot’s been said about ESPN in terms of skepticism about its future and basically the reliance on the old business model … ESPN is still highly profitable. Their ratings have been up the last couple of years, their operating income has been up the last couple of years. We’re engaged in basically positioning ESPN well for its future.”

But when asked about the progress with looking for the strategic partner, Iger was a little bit more hesitant.

First, Iger pushed back on Faber’s framing when asked if the company was looking for an investor for ESPN.

“We’re looking for strategic partners,” Iger said. “We don’t need an investor.”

He then kept it short when Faber tried to ask about the status of those conversations.

“We’ve had ongoing discussions. Nothing more to add,” Iger said.

Iger the said things were “complicated” before saying his last thoughts on the matter.

“Look, I don’t want to predict. We’re engaged in conversations. We think if we can, if we can reach the right agreement with the right partner, that it’s a really worthy thing to do,” Iger said.

This exchange — and the lack of transparency from Iger’s part — was made even more peculiar after Iger went in a bit more detail about ESPN’s strategy for the recently announced streaming joint venture with Warner Bros. Discovery  (WBD)  and Fox  (FOXA) .

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