Pooh Problems


Finally a DIS Veteran
Feb 14, 2001
I received my daily Foolwatch and in it was a short article on Pooh. This is a scary, scary article on what may become of Pooh in Disney as well as a demonstration of the mismanagement of The Disney Company presently. Here is the article:

Disney's Pooh Problems

Looks like Mickey Mouse can use a shredder just as well as Enron and Arthur Andersen employees, and Disney (NYSE: DIS) may be in deep Pooh because of it. It was recently disclosed that a superior court judge fined the entertainment giant $90,000 for willfully destroying 40 boxes of documents related to a royalty dispute involving Winnie the Pooh and other characters from the Hundred Acre Wood.

Pooh's merchandising rights are owned by the Stephen Slesinger family, which purchased them from author A.A. Milne in 1930. The family claims Disney has withheld at least $200 million in royalty payments from sales of Pooh-related software, videotapes, and DVDs. Disney claims these items aren't covered under the existing agreement.

The real mess would hit the fan if the family decides to wipe Pooh from all Disney properties. The company's lawyers say the Slesingers have no legal basis to withhold Disney's right to Pooh, but the family's attorneys disagree. The Slesingers say Pooh is Disney's biggest moneymaker, topping even Mickey Mouse, and that Disney would lose about a quarter of its annual revenue without the chubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff.

The big question for us, however, is why yet another company feels it is above the law. Addressing the 40 boxes of destroyed documents, lead attorney Daniel Petrocelli actually told the Los Angeles Times, "These were old meaningless papers destroyed by people in Disney's records management department who had no knowledge of any lawsuit. No harm, no foul." No harm, no foul? Give us a break! One of the boxes was even marked "Winnie the Pooh--legal problems." What are you hiding, Disney? Something about this Pooh mess smells awfully foul to us.


Scary, naw, nothing is scary anymore when it comes to Disney. This company is so screwd and twisted in the world of business, it's amazing. In my company's line of work, the Walt Disney Company approached an associate of ours to produce a product, seeking to have it produced for the Disney theme parks. They wanted the product so badly, however, with all types of legal strings attached, and absurd demands, the product that would have sold quite well, wasn't produced. Instead, Disney made this type of product themselves and they are barely selling. I just wanted to highlight the pure stupidty of this company and business mismanagement.
Wait, I thought Disney Purchased the full rights to Pooh last year? I thought disney owned Pooh Outright now?
I am not sure about Disney purchasing Pooh outright, but I do know this article was from January 31, 2002. They may also be behind the times, although I am not so sure that is the case. It does seem to be an interesting story which may eventually develop into something, but let's hope that something is not the absence of Pooh from Disney.

Also, for more on this whole situation check out:


Enjoy again!

Check the post "Pooh and the Money Pot" for some other references on this story. The document destruction goes well beyond these 40 boxes. It doesn't sound good.

Again, if anyone has a better estimate on how much revenues Pooh brings in, love to hear it. I don't think it is as high as they quote, but even my SWAG says it must be significant.


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