Published: December 2, 2009 at 7:57 PM
I was amused by a recollection related to Comcast that speaks volumes about the pseudo competition between the Disney Universal parks.
In Mr. Niles' recent "Blogflume" titled "My $.02 on Comcast's purchase of NBC/Universal," he made the mistake of offering up the following passage:
"Remember, Comcast tried to get its hands of Disney a few years back, when the Eisner administration was floundering."
The Eisner Administration was never "floundering." And I need to look no further to back that assertion up than look to the words of respected amusement industry analyst Harold Vogel.
Reviewing the history of the era (2004) Eisner was under attack by Roy E. Disney (who resigned "in protest" from the company) and the "Save Disney" forces. At that year's shareholder's meeting (in a patently transparent demonstration of corporate PR) Eisner stepped down from his position as Chairman of the Board. Of course he retained his position as CEO and maintained control of the company.
When Eisner announced he was leaving the company (after having NEVER ONCE expressed interest in renewing his contract) he was replaced by his hand-picked successor Robert Iger. Make note Roy E. Disney publicly opposed the selection of Iger ... but had no trouble coming back to work for the company after Iger took control.
Anyway, at Disney's 2004 annual shareholder's meeting Vogel attended a smaller media function with Eisner. That's when Comcast was making its bid to takeover Disney.
At that time Vogel was quoted as saying (paraphrased) "the executives of Disney did not seem as if they were in trouble. In fact, they seemed to be doing really well."
But what brings this around to my original thought was a comment that Eisner made at that media function. When a reporter eluded to Comcast's hostile bid, Eisner responded sarcastically (paraphrased): "Mergers and acquisitions? Oh yes, we're thinking of taking over Comcast."
It's amusing to know that a smug comment from a Disney exec implies the possibility that Disney could (with relative ease) gobble up the company that gobbled up Universal.