Disney's Eisner on a ego boosting trip?


MUMBAI: Does the Walt Disney Company or rather its chairman and CEO Michael Eisner know what he wants? Is he waiting for a bid or not, and if he is, then the obvious question is why?

Eisner was recently quoted in a media report saying that the board was open to a "really spectacular" offer but nonetheless would not give away the company. Sounds more like ego boosting.

Disney which is facing a looming takeover bid from Comcast Corp. and is also under fire from dissident shareholders.

When Comcast made the unsolicited bid to Disney on 11 February, the company's board turned down the offer as too low. According to a media report, Eisner who was interviewed by Larry King on cable channel CNN, declined to name a price for Disney. "Ah, please!" he said, adding that he would not give away sports channel ESPN and other premier brands. Eisner said that he believed he had the full support of the Disney board in the face of the Comcast bid and criticism from dissident shareholder Roy Disney.

Comcast is also a Disney customer and is negotiating a new contract with ESPN. A media report said that ESPN had cut deals on 19 February with Comcast rivals Cox Communications Inc. and Charter Communications Inc., and Eisner said he would like to charge Comcast more just because he "felt that way."

On the other hand Disney dissident Roy Disney said that the Comcast offer too low for the company. Roy Disney and fellow former board member Stanley Gold said in a statement, "In the view of many, including us, the Comcast offer does not adequately reflect the true potential value of Disney's assets."

Roy Disney, nephew of Walt Disney, and Gold have been campaigning for the ouster of Eisner.

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