Friday, January 30, 2004


Pixar pact end turns up heat on Eisner (CBS Marketwatch, 01/30/04)

'Disney's shareholder meeting, scheduled for March 3, just got a little more interesting.

Pixar's decision Thursday to end its longstanding deal with Disney means the venerable studio could see a key source of numerous revenue streams drying up in a hurry.

And the calls by Roy Disney, nephew of the company's founder and former vice chairman, for Chief Executive Michael Eisner to step down could be heard by more shareholders as they wonder where the Disney chief is leading the company.

"The market already made a judgment which isn't good news for Disney," Roy Disney said in an interview with CBS MarketWatch as the company's shares fell nearly 5 percent in after-hours trading Thursday. "That's the market's judgment and that's my judgment."

But analysts are concerned that even though the company's stock has risen dramatically in recent months, Eisner won't see as many friendly faces when he takes the stage at the company's annual gathering, scheduled to take place in Philadelphia.

"Could it heat things up [at the annual meeting]? I think it has the potential," said David Mantell, analyst at Loop Capital Markets in Chicago. "I think it's too early to tell whether it's a serious threat [to Eisner]."
And it gets worse:

"The timing could hardly be worse for Eisner. On Tuesday, Roy Disney and his business partner, fellow ex-Disney board member Stanley Gold, filed a statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission calling upon company shareholders to oust Eisner and three board members.

Roy Disney said Eisner has been unable to maintain the growth levels achieved during the first decade of his now 20 years at the company. Disney said Eisner's management has faltered since the death of President Frank Wells in 1995.


Will all this be enough to settle concerns among shareholders who may be antsy, or will they follow Roy Disney's lead in calling for Eisner's head?

"I think [that's] a bit of a stretch," said Guzman's Joyce. "But it'll keep the issue front and center."'
I'll keep on top of this, so maybe there'll be something more interesting and heartening to pay attention to than all the political nonsense on a lot of other blogs...

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