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Disney Corporate Strategy

In: Business and Management

Submitted By judyljl
Words 5467
Pages 22
Olin Business School
Washington University

S-02-001
Published: 2002 Revised: 2009

Disney Corporate Strategy (A) Barbarians at the Magic Kingdom’s Gate*

Introduction The next big takeover fight – and it would be a beauty – may involve Walt Disney Productions. By the time you get this issue, Disney’s defense strategy may already be unfolding. But it will produce no quick victory for Disney even if a white knight comes along, and even if the principle attacker, Saul Steinberg, can be bought off. One by one, Hollywood’s great studios have been plucked by the smart out-of-town moneymen. Paramount by the late Charles Bluhdorn. Twentieth Century-Fox by Marvin Davis and Marc Rich. MGMUnited Artists by Kirk Kerkorian. Columbia by Coca-Cola. Now, it may be Disney’s turn. But Disney will not go quietly. - Forbes, June 4, 1984 Ron Miller, Disney Productions’ CEO reflected on the remarkable events of the past several months. Disney, the symbol of wholesome family entertainment, had become the target of a hostile takeover attempt by a well-known raider, Saul Steinberg. Steinberg now owned 12% of the firm and was threatening to acquire more. While Miller had orchestrated several defensive maneuvers, Steinberg had now announced a public tender offer to purchase 49% of the equity at a price that was a 45% premium over where the stock had been prior to the raid. To fund this purchase, Steinberg was promising to sell the film library and certain real estate assets to outside investors. Steinberg also had a track record of accepting greenmail, having received $47 million just months prior from Quaker State Oil Company. Miller faced a clear dilemma as to how best to respond. Should he continue the defensive fight by paying greenmail or should he encourage the board to sell the company? History of Disney With a $500 loan, animator Walt Disney and his brother Roy founded Walt…...

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