Tuesday, July 12, 2005

More on SaveDisney's Fizzle

Jim Hill (as usual) has some scoop on the conclusion to the SaveDisney saga. And (if his sources are to be believed) , my speculation from a few days prior has proven out.

From Jim's column:

As one unnamed Disney Company official explained it to me yesterday:

Bob was all for closing the book on this whole thing. But -- given all the awful things that Disney & Gold had said about Iger as well as several other members of Disney's board of directors -- Disney's new CEO initially wasn't willing to offer these two any sort of new position within the organization. Bob felt that creating even a largely ceremonial role for Roy would be setting an awfully dangerous precedent.
By filing that lawsuit in Delaware, they signaled to Mouse House managers that -- although all parties involved here knew that the "Save Disney" effort was basically out of gas -- Disney & Gold were still capable of throwing a very large monkey wrench into Mickey's plans.

In fact, had this court case actually gone forward, it could have potentially undermined Iger's authority right from the get-go.

And thus ends the SaveDisney saga. It sadly appears that Roy has accepted a role within the Company that has no power as a payoff for dropping the suit and killing SaveDisney. Of course, appearances can be deceiving, and there may be much more to this than is apparent, but much of the list I published prior has not been solved, and thus Disney has not been saved. Maybe some things will be forthcoming (Pixar and FA announcements would change my mood considerably). I dunno. There is a story about selling off ABC radio and thus trimming things down to core business, so that's certainly a step in the right direction. Along with the work done for the 50th, the selloff of the Disney Stores, the new rides and attractions, the belated efforts to shore up CalAdv, etc., I'm staying optimistic.

This I know, though... Roy and Stanley cannot pursue an alternate slate for 5 years, nor can they submit shareholder resolutions. And Roy's title is ceremonial and carries no voting power. So the strongest voice of opposition to the status-quo, the one with all of the name and face recognition, has been effectively silenced. And they released a statement speaking of how much Eisner has contributed to the Company, after spending the last 2 years raking him over the coals. Ouch...

So, as I peel my SaveDisney bumper sticker, and have removed the link from over there --->, I must say that the effort was not without merit. The largest shareholder revolution on record is nothing to sneeze at. Eisner is stepping down a year early. Iger appears to be interested in approaching Jobs. Roy and Stan are justified in taking credit for this, as well as some of the other ways they shone the light on the inner workings of the Company. All of this was certainly worth the efforts. I just hate to see the whole thing fizzle in the end, with a feeling that the work is incomplete. Hope I'm wrong...


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