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Luv2Roam
10-19-2002, 10:00 PM
Accountant to Review Disney Pooh Royalty Case
Sat Oct 19,11:54 AM ET

By Peter Henderson

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A Los Angeles judge has called in an accountant to review a court battle over a honey pot of royalties from the whimsical children's story, Winnie the Pooh, that Walt Disney Co says could cost it $200 million.

In a case which stretches back more than a decade, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ernest Hiroshige on Friday put on hold a ruling requiring Disney to pay royalties to a company that owns some rights to Winnie the Pooh, the honey-loving bear created by British writer A.A. Milne in the 1920s.

Hiroshige said he would ask an independent accountant to consider the matter and to review an earlier report which found Disney owed only a few thousand dollars, as well as the judge's own tentative ruling in June that Disney has said could cost it $200 million.

The case is one of two in which privately held Stephen Slesinger Inc charges that Disney has hidden royalties owed under a deal the two sides struck years ago.

Slesinger, which bought rights to Winnie the Pooh from the late author, A.A. Milne, said the entertainment giant was not off the hook.

"I have the utmost confidence than any new accountant is going to come in and say of course the judge was right," said Bonnie Eskenazi, a lawyer for Slesinger.

Eskenazi said a phrase in the new ruling that said the matter "could potentially result in the award of tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars" confirmed that such an award was still possible.

But Disney's lawyer, Daniel Petrocelli, said he was confident the review would back the company's position.

"The new accountants get to look at this anew and come up with their own recommendation to the court. We remain supremely confident that they will see Disney's accounting was extremely good," he said.

Petrocelli argued that for Disney to be liable for $200 million it would have to have hidden trillions of dollars in sales, an impossibility.

Both sides agreed that they were close to finding a new accountant to review the matter. Judge Hiroshige said he would "order the new referee to submit a new report recommending a course of action."

blueheaven
11-23-2007, 04:15 AM
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