Television

Comcast says Disney not a 'must have'; Disney sees bid rising

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MUMBAI: The Comcast - Disney drama takes a new turn every week since it all began with the unsolicited bid that the US cable giant made for the Mouse House early last month.



The latest on that front is that Comcast CEO Brian Roberts who was rebuffed in the unsolicited buyout offer of the Walt Disney Co. said on 8 March that Walt Disney was not a "must-have" acquisition.



According to a media report Roberts said that he still believes that in the growing world of personalized television, Comcast could take Disney's movie portfolio and distribute it over its cable lines.



He was quoted as saying, "We can create value at a faster rate for both companies. Is it something we have to do? No."



By contrast, Roberts said Comcast's 2002 acquisition of AT&T's cable television business was a "must-have," because it tripled Comcast's size and exposed it to new markets.



As soon as the market got wind of this, Disney's stock has risen about $2.70, increasing the company's value about $5.3 billion. Whereas ironically, Comcast's stock price has dropped about $4, dropping the company's value by about $9 billion.



As of now, Disney has twice declined Comcast's offer, while Comcast has repeatedly said it won't increase its bid.



While interestingly on the other hand, Walt Disney Co. president and COO Bob Iger is rather bullish and sees a new and higher Comcast bid inevitable. According to media reports, Iger said that he sensed the "inevitability" of a new takeover bid from cable operator Comcast Corp.



The media report said that Iger also told investors at a conference hosted by Bear Stearns that Disney was doing well on its own as a content-only company. A marriage of distribution and content could work but was not necessarily a "slam dunk."



Stay tuned for more on this cat and mouse melee.

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