AOL/Disney merge?

Discussion in 'Disney Rumors and News' started by RoutemanDan, Oct 2, 2002.

  1. RoutemanDan

    RoutemanDan DIS Veteran

    Dec 4, 2000
    October 2, 2002 -- Dick Parsons is starting to fantasize about what he'll do with AOL Time Warner if he's ever able to dig the company out of the tremendous hole it's in.
    He has a long way to go, but some of his top executives are starting to explore, in internal discussions only, the possibility of merging their operations with Disney, The Post has learned.

    The internal reviews have not extended beyond the company's ranks, and any such deal would not happen for some time, if ever, a source said.

    A company spokesman denied it. "What you're hearing is inaccurate," said Ed Adler, AOL Time Warner's chief spokesman. "We are focusing on running our business and there are absolutely no discussions about merging with Disney, either internal or external."

    But a source confirmed the existence of the exploratory talks, which provide insight into where Parsons might like to take AOL Time Warner should he be able to right the ailing media giant's ship.

    For such an ambitious merger to occur, however, Parsons would first need to consolidate his power.

    The company's board has become increasingly divided between AOL and Time Warner loyalists, and Chairman Steve Case - AOL's founder, and the last major architect of the failed 2001 mega-merger still at the company - is on the ropes.

    A number of major investors and board members have been pushing for Case's ouster, and most expect him to be gone by the company's annual meeting next spring, if not sooner.

    Case's exit would allow Parsons to consolidate power, possibly as chairman. Sources predict that once Case leaves, Parsons would move to strip the AOL name from the company.

    Parsons would also have to put the ongoing SEC accounting investigation into the AOL unit behind the him, and get the company's stock price - which is off more than 60 percent this year - back up, before he could pursue a deal with Disney or anyone else.

    A merger with Disney would be appealing to Parsons because its ABC television division would give him something Time Warner has long wanted - a broadcast TV network. Disney would also provide powerhouse cable net ESPN, strong international assets and theme parks.

    Recent talks between AOL Time Warner's CNN unit and Disney's ABC network about a joint news venture might help Parsons lay the groundwork for a full merger.

    AOL Time Warner would spin off its cable assets to comply with regulations barring ownership of both cable systems and broadcast networks.

    Parsons has already moved in that direction by agreeing to create a separate cable company to hold cable assets he shares with AT&T, which is about to sell its share to Comcast.

    The media landscape is rapidly changing after years of furious acquisitions that left conglomerates, including AOL Time Warner and Vivendi Universal, heavily indebted.

    Disney's stock is also in the toilet, thanks to investor worries about falling ratings at ABC and a sharp drop in attendance at its theme parks. Investors are clamoring for changes at the company.

    At a Goldman Sachs investor conference yesterday in New York, Eisner said the odds of an ABC-CNN joint venture were 50/50, but added that he would love to do the deal.
  2. seashoreCM

    seashoreCM All around nice guy.

    Aug 25, 2001
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  4. RoutemanDan

    RoutemanDan DIS Veteran

    Dec 4, 2000
    That would be strange,wouldn't it?
  5. DemoBri1

    DemoBri1 Surfin' at the Beach Club Villas

    Jun 3, 2002
    If people think Disney has been mismanaged, all they need to do is look at this group!!! An improvement?? I'd think not.
  6. ralphd

    ralphd DIS Veteran

    Mar 23, 2000
    My thoughts exactly!!!!!

    ralphd:confused: :confused: :confused:
  7. roymccoy

    roymccoy Efficient Oxygen Exchanger<br><font color="#0080c0

    Jul 18, 2000
    the magic that is left will evaporate. Is Magic Mountain magical? Is Universal magical? Disney has really blown it over the last few years. They were the rulers of it all and then they got greedy and cheap. (Hmmmm, didn't EVERYONE see that all of the cutting was going to cause trouble?) Now, there's talk of a merger. You know what? If it happens, Disney and Eisner deserve it. They made terrible, obvious mistakes and now they (and us) are going to pay for them. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

  8. Bob O

    Bob O <font color=navy>Voice of Reason<br><font color=re

    Mar 2, 2000
    The merger would be the final nail in the disney coffin!!!
    And i dont think you would see bugs with Mickey Mouse as Premier parks?Six Flags have the rights to showcase those characters in their theme parks.
    AOL dosney own Magic Mountain and has nothing to do with the theme parks other than a licensing arrangement that permits Six Flags to use their characters!!
  9. drusba

    drusba I went to Iowa once, and it was closed.

    Aug 19, 1999
    So we need the top ten reasons why such a merger would be great:

    10. Everytime a turnstyle turns at WDW someone would shout "Welcome!"

    9. Disney would get a lot more characters for those Character Caravans that it creates to justify budget cuts.

    8. At the end of each season after killing off the annual victim, the Sopranos could face the camera and say, "We're going to Disney World!"

    7. They could attempt to save ABC by moving the popular Sex in the City from HBO to prime time on ABC after changing its name to Safe Sex in the Country.

    6. Eisner could make himself what he has always dreamed of being -- Time's Man of the Year.

    5. Disney could replace all ticket and resort discount programs for WDW with a free annual subscription to AOL because "that is what our guests have told us they want."

    4. There would be a highly creative Harry Potter ride at WDW -- a dozen vehicles shaped like brooms flying around in a circle.

    3. The executives of both companies could sit around and trade war stories about the dumb mergers they did before.

    2. They can put computers with AOL in every line at WDW so guests, to pass the long wait time, can enjoy staring at a dead screen with a twirling basketball.

    1. Steve Case and Michael Eisner could be co-chairmen of a whole new failing conglomerate (think about that one for a while).
  10. Doug123

    Doug123 DIS Veteran

    Feb 5, 2002
    A merger would be a terrible idea. Can you imagine if you applied AOL's "so our technology stinks and we charge too much for it" philosophy with Disney? The heart that makes Disney so special would be ripped out and thrown to the ground. I, for one, am hopeful the merger does not happen.

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