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September 28, 2004
Hurricanes Catching Up With Disney?
The effect of four hurricanes hitting Florida finally may be taking its toll on Walt Disney stock, as its shares fell more than 3 percent by midday Tuesday.Shares of Disney dropped 79 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $22.38 after analyst David Miller of Sanders Morris Harris issued a note saying there likely will be some impact on earnings from the barrage of storms that have pummeled Florida and the Gulf Coast region. Walt Disney World, the company's largest theme park, is based in Orlando, Florida.
Walt Disney, the US entertainment and media group, will on Wednesday unveil ambitious plans to expand its international TV business with significant investment in branded channels from its ABC network, the ESPN sports and Disney TV operations.Bob Iger, Disney president and chief operating officer, is expected to tell an industry conference that the US group is planning to launch new Disney channels in India and China, while expanding its ESPN presence in Europe and Asia.Mr Iger is also likely to take a swipe at Comcast, the cable group which abandoned a $60bn hostile bid for Disney earlier this year, by suggesting that better exploitation of new channels and technology makes more strategic sense for Disney than merging content and distribution.
The Henry Ford to Create Traveling Exhibit Celebrating 50 Years of Disneyland
The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan, will research and develop a traveling exhibit celebrating the 50th anniversary of Disneyland. The exhibit will be created by The Henry Ford in association with Walt Disney Imagineering and The Walt Disney Company.In an unprecedented agreement, Walt Disney Imagineering, the creative design organization behind Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, will loan The Henry Ford up to 500 pieces of original artwork, models, construction drawings, ride vehicles and media materials relating to the architecture and design of Disneyland.
Hong Kong Disneyland Celebrates ``Topping Off'' of Sleeping Beauty Castle
Hong Kong Disneyland today celebrated a major milestone in its construction by placing the top-most turret upon the highest tower of Sleeping Beauty Castle in a "Topping Off" ceremony, signaling that the first Disney family vacation destination in China is on schedule to open by late 2005/early 2006. Hundreds of Guests including government officials, business and community leaders, and Cast Members gathered at the Hong Kong Disneyland construction site in Penny's Bay on Lantau Island for the first time since the Park's ground-breaking in January 2003 to witness the moment and the "magic at work" within the Park. They were joined by beloved Disney characters Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald, Goofy, Chip and Dale; Hong Kong Disneyland spokesperson and entertainer Jacky Cheung; Walt Disney Parks and Resorts President Jay Rasulo; and Hong Kong Disneyland group Managing Director Don Robinson.
Yahoo's Semel Emerging as Contender for Disney CEO
As the Walt Disney Company begins its search for a new chief executive, Yahoo CEO Terry Semel has emerged among Hollywood insiders as a top contender.Semel has deep roots in Hollywood, having run a movie studio for two decades. His family still lives in Bel Air. And his success at turning around one of America's highest-profile technology companies could give him more cachet with a Disney board seeking to restore the struggling entertainment company's fortunes.Semel's name surfaced almost immediately after Disney's embattled CEO, Michael Eisner, announced last week that he would leave in 2006, when his contract expires.
In several independent articles, former Walt Disney Company board members, Roy Disney and Stanley Gold demanded that the Walt Disney board should start a search immediately to find a new chief executive to replace Michael Eisner as soon as possible. Referring to Mr Eisner's nomination of group president Robert Iger as his choice to replace him, they claimed that allowing the current chief executive to remain in place for another two years would lead to further losses of creative talent. They said on Monday that if Mr Eisner remained as chief executive, it would be difficult to find anyone willing to work in his shadow. Roy E. Disney and Stanley Gold said Monday they will propose an alternate slate of directors if Disney's board does not launch an immediate search for a new CEO and announce that Eisner will step down from the board at the conclusion of the search. The two former board members said a new chief executive should be in place before Disney's next shareholder meeting in early 2005.
Walt Disney Company Chief Executive Michael Eisner will retire in September 2006, when his contract expires, the company said Friday. "Until then I shall continue to exert every effort to help the company achieve our goals, to assist the Board in selecting the new Chief Executive Officer, and to make the transition expeditious, efficient, and smooth and easy," Eisner said in a letter to the Disney board. Eisner closed his letter by echoing Disney's famous advertising campaign, first suggested by his wife Jane, saying: "I'm going to Disneyland!" The decision signals the end of the 62-year-old Eisner's two-decade reign at the helm of the Burbank, Calif.-based company. Eisner has presided over a vast expansion of one of the world's best-known brands, whose businesses range from theme parks to films to the ABC television network.
Michael Ovitz, former president of Walt Disney Co., Friday won a ruling from a Delaware court that means he will only have to defend part of a shareholder suit over his $140 million severance package. Chancellor William Chandler of Delaware's Court of Chancery granted Ovitz's motion for summary judgment on allegations that he violated his fiduciary duty to the company in negotiating the employment contract that triggered the bonanza. But Chandler said Ovitz must defend claims that his golden parachute payoff after little more than a year in office was a waste of corporate assets.
Michael Eisner has told Walt Disney Co. directors that company president Robert Iger is his "preferred choice" to succeed him as chief executive of the media giant, according to a newspaper report published Sunday. Eisner told board members Iger "would be an excellent guardian of the Disney assets," he said in an interview last week with the Los Angeles Times. "There's nobody," Eisner said, "who has a better education and training to do that job." The question of who would succeed Eisner has grown more critical during an ongoing campaign against his leadership by former directors Roy E. Disney and Stanley Gold. At the company's annual meeting in March, shareholders withheld 45 percent of their votes for Eisner.
Disney Critics Not Letting Go Of Campaign To Oust Eisner
The Walt Disney Co. has made substantial progress quieting the dissent that reached a climax last March with an unprecedented vote of no confidence against CEO Michael Eisner. But the fight isn't over. Eisner is almost certain to face a renewed challenge from former directors Roy E. Disney and Stanley Gold, who will likely put together their own slate of nominees for the board by year's end. Since the March shareholders meeting, the two dissidents have led a steady, albeit more low-profile campaign against Disney through their Web site, SaveDisney.com. Run from the Burbank offices of Shamrock Holdings, a firm operated by Gold that handles Roy Disney's investments, the effort is becoming more aggressive as Disney reaches the end of its fiscal year and the deadline approaches to formally launch a proxy fight.