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View Full Version : I Believe Comcast Will Be BAD For DVC


Stinson
02-11-2004, 11:50 PM
I have had the unfortunate experience of being a Comcast customer since it recently took over the cable company in our area, and I have come to feel that there is nothing good about Comcast. Comcast has stripped our cable company of customer service and is the worst company I have ever dealt with. I can only expect that the service we now receive from DVC will vanish as it has vanished from our cable service after Comcast took over. Comcast never (well, seldom) answers the customer service phone line . Comcast now has a monopoly in our area and, as a customer, I feel this company treats me with total indifference. The same will be true of our beloved DVC. Because Comcast will essentially own DVC members, as they do cable customers, they will be free to provide as little customer service to DVC members as they provide to cable subscribers in my area. If this take-over/merger goes through, it will be the end of my DVC days.

GAIL HAYDEN
02-12-2004, 12:01 AM
I must be the ONLY comcast customer who has not had a problem with customer service or the service in general.
I do find the phone prompts to be a PITA, but, I find that with any robot system.
After the cable company we had in our old town, this is a real improvement.
I refuse to get my knickers in a twist about this UNTIL it happens and UNTIL I see degredation in service. With any luck it will improve, which would be nice.

Maistre Gracey
02-12-2004, 12:04 AM
Normally I would agree that an outside company taking over would be bad for DVC. On this one, after reading much material, and factoring in the "Save Disney" campaign, I think I am all for it... :happy1:

MG

Bill K
02-12-2004, 04:24 AM
I think Comcasts offer will come up short, I do feel Eisner should go! Bring in Roy Disney.

crisi
02-12-2004, 07:24 AM
Gail, you aren't. We've had Comcast for a few years and they've been exceptional. They just sent out a note informing us that they were able to increase bandwidth for their cable modem customers in our area - and won't be charging us. Some of our previous cable or internet vendors have been MUCH worse.

WebmasterDoc
02-12-2004, 07:29 AM
The DVC Board is not the proper forum to discuss local cable company service. Please feel free to continue such comment on the Community Board.

jimmytammy
02-12-2004, 07:39 AM
If a company like Comcast were to take over at Disney we would probably see changes with our DVC and all other aspects of Disney. I get the feeling the Disney magic would be gone forever:(

David in Manassas
02-12-2004, 08:16 AM
If you read enough of the various Disney related boards, one rumor that keeps poking its head up is that DVC could be sold to Marriot.....I wonder if that would be good or bad?

palmtreegirl
02-12-2004, 08:44 AM
The DVC Board is not the proper forum to discuss local cable company service. Please feel free to continue such comment on the Community Board.

Thank you Doc.

tfc3rid
02-12-2004, 10:13 AM
Agree Doc, yet DISagree...

While yes cable talk doesn't belong here, we have to really face the possibility that DVC will no longer be DVC with a year and half time. There are many questions that DVC members may have to consider in the near future. We can't just act as if this will not impact us.

WebmasterDoc
02-12-2004, 10:24 AM
Originally posted by tfc3rid
While yes cable talk doesn't belong here, we have to really face the possibility that DVC will no longer be DVC with a year and half time.

If you have some information to support such a statement, please share it. I've seen no mention of DVC not being DVC within 18 months other than the idle speculation offered right here.

I have a contract promising ownership of a specific resort until January 31, 2042- and nothing more. To suggest that will be invalid prior to 2042 certainly deserves some supporting documentation rather than the "sky is falling" comments thus far.

tfc3rid
02-12-2004, 10:43 AM
As do I Doc...

I know wat my contract says... My contract is with Disney Vacation Development. While I don't see that being voided, I could see some contractual issues coming up IF...whomever owns Disney decised to start spinning portions of the Company apart, which they may have to do because of the sheer $$ involved in this deal.

I'm not selling or giving up any of my DVC. But it is prudent to keep a very watchful and concerned eye on this.

WebmasterDoc
02-12-2004, 11:18 AM
OK- I'll ask more directly-

Do you have a link to any suggestion by Comcast that DVC would be spun off ??? ( ... or is that simply your personal fear without anything to document the speculation?)

I'll be very interested in reading those plans when you can direct us to your source.

tfc3rid
02-12-2004, 11:22 AM
No direct news. Just listening to Bloomberg radio here in NYC and listening to indusry folks talking.

MermaidsMom
02-12-2004, 11:58 AM
I saw an interesting point on another Disney board. What if there is a takeover and the new owner takes full advantage of things in the contract like the 15%/yr maintenance fee increases? It also noted there are probably other things in the contract that would seem to be no biggie if Disney owned it because they wouldn't stick it to the owners, but if someone else is in charge they may become an issue.

tfc3rid
02-12-2004, 12:03 PM
Right, which is why this has a potential impact on all of us.

DrTomorrow
02-12-2004, 12:28 PM
Originally posted by MermaidsMom
I saw an interesting point on another Disney board. What if there is a takeover and the new owner takes full advantage of things in the contract like the 15%/yr maintenance fee increases? It also noted there are probably other things in the contract that would seem to be no biggie if Disney owned it because they wouldn't stick it to the owners, but if someone else is in charge they may become an issue. Well, I suspect that doing such things would make it very difficult to sell the last 10 buildings in SSR....

Until I see some evidence (heck, I'll settle for well-documented, well-thought-out opinion), I'm simply going to continue to enjoy my DVC ownership, and not worry about who's name is in the box at the top of the Org Chart.


PS I still don't understand why people think that Disney is any less likely to "stick it to [DVC] owners" than Comcast. Search the DVC threads and see all the complaints about Disney mistreating DVC owners - starting with the Member Homecoming cost.

palmtreegirl
02-12-2004, 12:34 PM
I have a contract promising ownership of a specific resort until January 31, 2042- and nothing more. To suggest that will be invalid prior to 2042 certainly deserves some supporting documentation rather than the "sky is falling" comments thus far.

Agree! All these *what if's* are just that, *what if's*. Nothing has been decided, it's far from being a done deal.

I just don't understand why people appear to be getting themselves all worked up over a bunch of rumors and possible outcomes. :confused:

Horace Horsecollar
02-12-2004, 12:38 PM
Originally posted by MermaidsMom
I saw an interesting point on another Disney board. What if there is a takeover and the new owner takes full advantage of things in the contract like the 15%/yr maintenance fee increases?
The maintenance fees are based on the actual operating, reserve, and tax expenses. The management fee component (profit for the management company) of the mainentance fees is about 1%.

A new management company could not raise the fees by 15% unless they have to because the budget legitimately goes up 15%. Even then, the management company would not pocket the increase.

Originally posted by WebmasterDoc
Do you have a link to any suggestion by Comcast that DVC would be spun off ???
I've certainly haven't seen such a suggestion in print or on a news website. In fact, Comcast has said they plan to keeps the parks.

That said, it's common, after a large acquisistion, to spin off assets to raise cash and retire debt. I could see Comcast looking at the WDW lodging buildings and operations (including DVC) as a potential source of cash.

floridafam
02-12-2004, 01:12 PM
DrTomorrow,

Very well said :D

DisFlan
02-12-2004, 02:30 PM
A take by someone seriously considering DVC ownership - we'll wait and see. I'd have to know a lot more about what a new owner could, or could not, do before we put any money on the table.

A main draw for DVC has been that it's DISNEY. YOUR current contracts are with DVC. Mine might be with someone else. DVC could be spun off. Or the contract could be resold and end up with -- who knows.

I can easily envision Comcast (or whoever) not wanting to remain in the timeshare business.

I'd imagine more than a few would-be buyers will have these same thoughts.

DisFlan

Nick@ VB+OKW
02-12-2004, 04:30 PM
Originally posted by tfc3rid
There are many questions that DVC members may have to consider in the near future. We can't just act as if this will not impact us.

I agree 100% with the above. I don't see the harm in discussing this when it concerns DVC and our investment in our vacationing future. This is a discussion board and this topic is DVC related.

I guess we will have to be patient and see how everything pans out between Comcast and Disney. But I sincereley believe there could be some changes in the future of the DVC.

But hopefully, if there are some changes it will be for the better.

floridafam
02-12-2004, 05:06 PM
The only important issue here is if Comcast employees will get discounts at Disney. :teeth:

jmminarik
02-12-2004, 05:14 PM
Originally posted by Horace Horsecollar
In fact, Comcast has said they plan to keeps the parks.

That said, it's common, after a large acquisistion, to spin off assets to raise cash and retire debt. I could see Comcast looking at the WDW lodging buildings and operations (including DVC) as a potential source of cash.

Don't forget guys, EVERYTHING in WDW is in one way or another, tied into everything else and WDW has a synergistic way of working. Breaking up the US assets of what we think of as 'Disney' (including DVC) won't work well without the rest of the pieces. While there is 'quick cash' to be made by selling acquired assets, Comcast probably won't need to do that beyond regulatory concerns. Almost certainly they'd be selling the Disney interest in the Ducks and any other sports franchises Disney might own. They might even have to sell off ABC and spin ESPN into a controlled subsidiary. But to suggest that the World and our homes in it would be dissected at this early stage is a bit premature.

Besides, if Comcast needed money, there's 21 million people who are stuck with comcast the cable monopoly to exploit. :p

-Joe

JimC
02-12-2004, 05:51 PM
Some thoughts on earlier posts.

1. I don't think it is accurate to call Comcast a "local" cable company, not with over 21 million cable customers in 41 states, 18 billion in revenues and 6 billion in operating cash flow.

2. As a cable/internet customer I have been pleased with Comcast's services and their customer assistance. Pricing is high, though.

3. Comcast taking advantage of Mr. Eisner's and Disney's troubles. Good move on their part, but not certain of success. And their opening bid of a mere 10% premium has got to go much higher.

4. Shareholders' meeting in early March should be very interesting, particularly with the pre-meeting of the dissident group. Just for proper disclosure, I support Roy Disney and Stan Gold's efforts.

5. Even if the Disney Board is interested and can deliver shareholder approval, the deal would need to pass regulatory approval -- not such an easy process, I suspect.

6. Selling DVC to Marriott may be a natural fit, but it would be a very complicated transaction for the DVC assets within WDW. Probably would not happen in my view or if it did it would be the VB and HH properties.

7. My initial reaction to the deal is negative because I believe they are interested in the content and broadcasting assets represented in DIsney/ABC and in particular ESPN. I also doubt if Comcast is particularly interested in the very unique Disney corporate culture and methods. I am concerned that could be our most significant risk.

Stinson
02-12-2004, 06:06 PM
Regarding point #6 of the previous post, Comcast would not have to "sell" the DVC assets. An uncomplicated way of disposing of DVC would be to lease the DVC assets to a timeshare operator, such as Marriot, until 2042. I believe the Swan and Dolphin are on land leases. Another example is the Town of Celebration. Disney owns the land in Celebration and leases it on 99 year leases to the homeowners.

DaveH
02-12-2004, 06:31 PM
I think the DVC everyday stuff will not change in a major way. If it is run by someone else for a while, the phone numbers and such may change. I think the concern I have with Comcast taking over or just within Disney is how Disneyworld itself is run. Is it kept up to date clean and such. The major draw for me to DVC is WDW. If that goes down hill, my interest in DVC goes with it. The laws and such as I understand it, will not allow them to just raise the maintenance fees, because they want. They may charge DVC more for transportation and such and make our fees go up more that way. I am waiting and seeing how WDW is run in general.

Maistre Gracey
02-12-2004, 06:37 PM
Because there are two similar threads going at once and I wanted to respond here, I copied & pasted my response from the other thread:

I have said in the past that I would likely sell if Disney ever sold DVC, but this seems somewhat different. It seems as though the Disney brand would be intact (still Disney Vacation Club, not Comcast Vacation Club). After all, most items in your home probably have a parent company, and you don't even know it. Most importantly, from what I have read, Comcast would be commited to the long term excellence of Disney.

I think this may be a good thing, either way it goes. If the takeover is unsuccessful it will be a wake up call for Disney, thus things would only get better.
Kind of a win-win situation. :D

MG

WebmasterDoc
02-12-2004, 06:42 PM
Originally posted by JimC
Some thoughts on earlier posts.

1. I don't think it is accurate to call Comcast a "local" cable company, not with over 21 million cable customers in 41 states, 18 billion in revenues and 6 billion in operating cash flow.



So, you think that service calls are dispatched diretcly from the Comcast corporate offices in Philadelphia? With regard to customer service (which is what was being described in the original post in this thread), that component of the cable company is most definitely handled at the local level and a description of the quality of Comcast is not necessarily directly related to the cable guy who hooks up your TV or your own local cable charges.

To reiterate ... Discussion of how Comcast would affect DVC is fine on this DVC Forum, but discussion about Roy Disney, Eisner, Gold, ABC, Disney shareholders and the Disney Board will need to take place on the Disney News/Rumors Board until such time that Comcast, Disney or DVC announce plans regarding the Disney Vacation Club.

BWVDee
02-12-2004, 06:47 PM
There are many questions that DVC members may have to consider in the near future. We can't just act as if this will not impact us.

........ the concern I have with Comcast taking over or just within Disney is how Disneyworld itself is run. Is it kept up to date clean and such. The major draw for me to DVC is WDW. If that goes down hill, my interest in DVC goes with it............ I am waiting and seeing how WDW is run in general.

I feel the same way.

::MickeyMo

jcodespoti
02-12-2004, 07:03 PM
The glass is half-full untill proved otherwise.

Sammie
02-12-2004, 07:17 PM
Originally posted by WebmasterDoc
If you have some information to support such a statement, please share it. I've seen no mention of DVC not being DVC within 18 months other than the idle speculation offered right here.

I have a contract promising ownership of a specific resort until January 31, 2042- and nothing more. To suggest that will be invalid prior to 2042 certainly deserves some supporting documentation rather than the "sky is falling" comments thus far.

Totally agree!

Lately it seems we see alot of emotional discussion and little discussion based on fact around here. Except for a few posters, yourself being one, that tries very hard to stick to the facts.

BWVDee
02-12-2004, 07:29 PM
Originally posted by WebmasterDoc
I have a contract promising ownership of a specific resort until January 31, 2042- and nothing more.
I agree 100%!!!!!!
It is the "nothing more" part that has me a little concerned. Not concerned to the point of selling but definitely to the point of keeping a close eye on the whole situation, the resale prices, etc. And also has me concerned to the point that any additional add on of pts plans that I had, has most definitely been put on the back burner.

RoyalCanadian
02-12-2004, 08:49 PM
The emotion filled speculation seems to have reached the "Chicken Little" status with guesses, rumours and fear-mongering coming out of nowhere -- the only basis for which seems to be a small minority's experience with dealing with one part of the Comcast company. What is even more hilarious is the apparent perception that the Walt Disney Co. is some purely benevolent company (with an equally benevolent Michael Eisner as the CEO) while Comcast is evil incarnate.
We need to keep everything in perspective as DVC members.
1. We all knew upon joining that our DVC membership was not some speculative investment. If you purchased with the idea that you would be able to make money on the resale down the road, you joined for the wrong reason. Whether a potential Comcast takeover will boost the price or cause the bottom to drop out is irrelevant. Go ahead and buy your SSR points just like you were going to before you ever heard of Comcast. Go ahead and call MS to book your January stay.
2. WD Co. is not some benevolent company out to make all our lives spectacularly happy. WD Co. is out to find out how to get us to part with hard earned $$$ and has made lots of money from DVC Members. Our maintenance dues run the DVC hotels for WD Co., we buy food from WD Co., we pay to go to the parks. Look at all the Disney kitsch around your house and the Disney clothing you are wearing (made in sweatshops for a pittance). Disney is not a non-profit charitable organization. Disney's purpose is to make money -- that's our money they now have.
3. If Comcast is such an inefficient, evil company that truly plucks the wings off flies and trips old ladies -- then how the heck is it that they have managed to survive? Your experience in trying to pay your cable bill is not the sole experience with Comcast. How about opinions from Philadelphia Flyers season ticket holders? Comcast would seem to have done rather well financially with 10 stock splits since its IPO in 1972. This is not a poorly run company with a board of directors full of imbeciles.

Let's everyone take a deep breath and realize that nothing has changed. Comcast is simply making an offer that is not guaranteed to be accepted by anyone. WD Co. is still WD Co. DVC is still DVC and nobody has stopped construction on SSR or sent Mickey and Friends off to look for other jobs.

Best wishes to all!

Maistre Gracey
02-12-2004, 09:02 PM
Go ahead and buy your SSR points just like you were going to before you ever heard of Comcast.
Well, if a new buyer wants to be sure they get a purely Disney product, why not wait a few months and see how this pans out? (Although I am not selling)


WD Co. is not some benevolent company out to make all our lives spectacularly happy. WD Co. is out to find out how to get us to part with hard earned $$$ and has made lots of money from DVC Members.
True, BUT the way they get us to part with our money is too make us "spectacularly happy".

If Comcast is such an inefficient, evil company that truly plucks the wings off flies and trips old ladies -- then how the heck is it that they have managed to survive?
I am not sure about where you live, but where I live there is NO CHOICE. If I want cable TV, the ONLY option is Comcast.

Actually though, I do agree with much of what you said. :cool:

MG

disneycrazed139
02-12-2004, 09:20 PM
Disney is not a non-profit charitable organization. Disney's purpose is to make money -- that's our money they now have.

This is an interesting statement. No one ever said anything about charity. However, I believe that part of what has made Disney stand out in the past is the fact that there is (was?) something more in Disney's purpose, BESIDES money-making. In fact, I don't think I am kidding myself in feeling that the essence of Disney represents a little more. Perhaps this certain something can't be named, but I suppose that special something that is Disney is what so many people are afraid will be lost. In all reality, though, current management has jeopardized that anyway, not Comcast.

In any case, my DVC will still be near and dear to me. Who knows? Comcast could make DVC and Disney great!

DerbyVacationClubber
02-12-2004, 09:23 PM
Can you all get a grip? The world will not end if Disney is (or is not) merged into Comcast. I'm so sick of people sitting around speculating about something that may (or may not even) happen. Get a life.

:confused:

Maistre Gracey
02-12-2004, 09:29 PM
Originally posted by DerbyVacationClubber
Can you all get a grip? The world will not end if Disney is (or is not) merged into Comcast. I'm so sick of people sitting around speculating about something that may (or may not even) happen. Get a life.

:confused:
Just curious... Why did you click on this thread???

MG

disneycrazed139
02-12-2004, 09:52 PM
I'm so sick of reading all this garbage about the world ending...

Yes, ::yes:: You clearly are confused.

Kick it up a notch!
02-12-2004, 10:15 PM
Hey Royal Canadian, ever hear of Enron??? The company that was supposed to change the face of how energy companies are run? They did pretty well for a long time before the bottom dropped out. I' sure that is what all of this panic is about. I didn't spend lots of cash to look at a ghost town 5 years from now. I appreciate everyone's opinion about the proposed takeover, but there is a real possibility that if it happens, DVC could be drastically affected if Comcast takes over. I for one hope it does not happen.

As for Disney being a company that makes money from us, I have no problem with that as long as I am receiving something of value in return (Great vacations). If Comcast takes over and does not do right by the DVC owners and anyone else who visits the theme parks, I will not be receiving the value I expected for the money I already spent.

Everyone here obviously loves Disney, and their DVC, that is why there is the Chicken Little hysteria.

deerh
02-12-2004, 10:35 PM
This is truly a "disturbing venture into the unknown". I for one am NOT going to speculate about DVC going into the tank, or Disney is "gone forever". HOWEVER, I (as many on this board) am concerned about one thing. The "Wholesome Family Entertainment" that Disney is known for. You know, tinker bell, Mickey, Minnie,et.all.
I HOPE THIS is not lost in the "hostile takeover" (if it even happens)!

I think this is the underlying essence of what a LOT of Diser's are concerned about. It is one this Dis'er is TRULY worried about.

IF, Comcast takes over Disney, or whoever does, I think this is what Disney is known for, I hope its not lost!!!

JMHO.

DeerH

P.S Walt IS probably rolling in his grave

CarolA
02-12-2004, 10:56 PM
I have to agree with Neil.

Lots of posters act like Disney is a charity and then get upset when the "charity" does not act like one. LOL! The whole thing about giving DVC members discounts for example, why should they? We are coming anyway!

I also agree that if you bought DVC as an investment hoping to recoup all of your money or make a profit you failed to truly consider the history of timeshares or the investment return that money could have made someplace else. We are spoiled by Disney's ROFR proping up the price, but I would guantee that down the road no matter who owns Disney things could change on that front. There was never a guarantee on 99.9% of what you like about Disney in your contract.

Why was it that "save Disney" was a great idea, but Comcast is a bad idea? They are clearly related. Roy has managed to put Disney in play which increases his stock value, but decreases the potential that he will get what he wants. As for how it affects DVC..... This entire thread is speculation and rumor. DVC is a SMALL portion of Disney and the suitors have probably not even gotten to a strategic plan for DVC!!! (I have been in takeovers and trust me... we could be overlooked for a while!)


Personally I find all of the Comcast etc... therads funny!

BWVDee
02-12-2004, 11:19 PM
Bottom line......I bought Disney NOT Comcast or any other company!
I NEVER bought DVC as an investment but as a vacation timeshare to provide myself and my family with many years of WDW vacations. I purchased a timeshare soley with Disney so that it would provide the Diseny standards that I wanted.
I bought DVC because it was a Disney product. Disney is a company that I knew about, had experienced many times with many positive experieces in many venues and was willing to invest many thousands of dollars in.
Who knows maybe Comcast or another company that may take over will bring very positive changes for all DVC members but then again it is very possibly it may very well NOT bring positive changes!
We all have to wait and see where the chips may fall!
As far as selling my current DVC points----at this time I am not .
But as far as buying any additional DVC pts that I have been on a wait list to buy--No way!!!!
This is just how I feel and how I am going to deal with this latest development regarding Disney. The take over of Disney whether it be by Comcast or whomever has an outreaching effect to all of DVC memberships. Regarding how far this will effect DVC memberships remains to be seen.
To call anyone "Chicken Little" is IMO taking the stance of burying your head in the sand., but YMMV
::MickeyMo

RoyalCanadian
02-12-2004, 11:35 PM
Originally posted by Maistre Gracey

I am not sure about where you live, but where I live there is NO CHOICE. If I want cable TV, the ONLY option is Comcast.


Americans have little on Canadians when it comes to media convergence. We've experienced it all here with Bell Globemedia owning the local telephone system, the Trans-Atlantic telephone cable and satellite systems, a major newspaper conglomerate, the high speed telephone Internet connection, one of the television networks, and one of the DTH satellite systems. (among other things) Bell Globemedia must have some business connection with Comcast, as they seem to represent most of the specialty cable channels in the Canadian market (e.g. Outdoor Life Network, Golf Channel)
Canwest Global Communications (just listed on the NYSE) owns one of the other TV networks and one of the other newspaper conglomerates. (among other things, as well)
As for me -- we have the "other" DTH satellite system, but it's also owned by a cable firm while another major communications company in Canada runs the other major cable company, a significant cell phone system and a magazine publishing empire.
While it might seem like there is little choice, the consumer can go into the deal armed with the information. The Investor Relations sections of websites such as Comcast's (and I presume Disney's) carry a wealth of information as to a company's subsidiary operations. That information can be absolutely fascinating.

DrTomorrow
02-12-2004, 11:57 PM
It seems like a lot of DIS DVCers are wondering "Who Moved Mickey's Cheese?" ;)

Stinson
02-13-2004, 08:11 AM
Yesterday, the Boston Globe said the following about the take-over.

"It's hard to see how Disney will be saved for future generations when it's consumed by a giant cable company most interested in getting its hands on ESPN."

Here is the article:

http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_action=doc&p_docid=100AE28087E69CC0&p_docnum

SORRY - The link above does not work, so here is a reprint of the Boston Globe Article.

A ROLE IN THE DRAMA

Author(s): STEVEN SYRE Date: February 12, 2004 Page: D1 Section: Business

Some people believe we have entered a second era of hostile corporate takeovers, nearly two decades after the first dominated business headlines. Consider Comcast's $54.1 billion bombshell offer for Walt Disney Co., their latest exhibit.

It's true the amount of money on the table in live hostile bids is unprecedented today, but a few gigantic corporate bidders offering mostly stock have replaced the cast of rapacious financial raider-barons who were leveraged to the eyeballs in the 1980s. Dollars aside, it's just not the same. Still, here's one intriguing constant spanning both periods: Roy Disney and Stanley Gold are still in the picture.

Disney, the nephew of Uncle Walt, and Gold, his longtime financial adviser, are remembered locally for their bruising, unsuccessful hostile takeover bid for Polaroid Corp. that finally wilted in 1989.

After battling for nine months, Polaroid paid Disney and Gold $20 million to go away. The real keys to victory: court decisions backing Polaroid's antitakeover defenses and an $800 million stock repurchase plan.

Disney and Gold have turned their attention recently to the Disney company and its chief executive, Michael Eisner. The pair may not be any part of a Comcast team, but they have had a very real role in current events.

To say the least, they are unhappy. A barrage of attacks blaming Eisner for Disney's lackluster stock performance preceded their huffy exit from the company's board two months ago. (Roy Disney was bounced when the company imposed a new age limit on directors, and Gold resigned in protest.) The agitation created some sense of vulnerability for Eisner, though I'd be hard pressed to measure it.

The pressure increased two weeks ago when Pixar, the animation studio behind movie hits like "Toy Story" and "Finding Nemo," said it had ended talks to extend an existing distribution agreement with the Disney company. It remains unclear why that decision was made at that time.

Meanwhile, Disney and Gold were pitching their case to replace Eisner to big investors without much obvious success. "The reality is they're not particularly credible with institutional investors like me," says Larry Haverty, a portfolio manager at State Street Research and Management.

But Eisner, up for reelection to the Disney board next month, seemed to take the threat seriously. A two-day investor conference, showcasing booming quarterly profits, was scheduled to make everyone feel warm and fuzzy beginning yesterday. Comcast blew up the timetable by 7 a.m.

The Disney Co. went through a comparable corporate upheaval that led to a new management team 20 years ago. The chief agitators were Roy Disney and Gold. Their choice for new chief executive prevailed after intense board debate in 1984. Eisner got the job.

Now they want Eisner out. Roy Disney sued the company yesterday for access to shareholder records. Nine other lawsuits were filed against the company yesterday.

Meanwhile, Gold pushed his opposition to the Disney board and discussed the possibility of replacing Eisner. Discreet, he was not. "It would be like `The Wizard of Oz' when the winged monkeys stood up and sang, `The witch is dead,' " Gold said on a conference call.

The Disney/Gold campaign against company directors even has a slogan. "Save Disney for future generations" its website (www.save disney.com) implores.

It's hard to see how Disney will be saved for future generations when it's consumed by a giant cable company most interested in getting its hands on ESPN. Then again, the story is only beginning.

Steven Syre is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at syre@globe.com

PamOKW
02-13-2004, 08:28 AM
Interesting article Stinson. I don't follow this Roy Disney worship at all. I suspected as does this article, that his agitation is what has created the environment leading to this play by Comcast. I don't think Roy or his pal Gold care one whit about the Disney family or the "guest". They have a personal grudge against Eisner and they don't care if they take the whole place down with them in that fight.

WebmasterDoc
02-13-2004, 09:20 AM
Since recent posts in this thread have shown no interest in how Comcast might affect DVC, please feel free to continue the Comcast/ Roy Disney/ Stanley Gold/ Michael Eisner/ Boston Globe discussion in one of the threads on the News/Rumors Board.

Enjoy!