Activist investor Dan Loeb appeared to take a step back from his calls for Disney to sell or spin off the ESPN sports television network.
Loeb, who revealed in August that a Thirdpoint hedge fund had bought a $1 billion stake in the company, said: Call for ESPN spinoff Reducing Disney’s debt is just one component of a sweeping plan that will shake up the media company.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Chapek said: disney Amid rumors that the company is considering selling its cable network, there has been a “flood” of interest from companies looking to buy ESPN.
“If people come to buy… I think that says something about the potential,” Chapek said. “I think the potential is within the Disney Company.”
He added: When people around the world learn about our plans, they will be just as confident in our proposals as we are. ”
After the remarks, Loeb appeared to withdraw from the ESPN push. on Twitter On Sunday morning, Loeb said Third Point “has a better understanding of ESPN’s potential as an independent business,” while network chief Jimmy Pitaro is “executing its growth and innovation plans, We are creating considerable synergies as part of Walt,” he said. Disney Company”.
ESPN broadcasts live sports in the United States, including National Football League, National Basketball Association, and Major League Baseball games.
In an interview, Chapek said he has “regular conversations” with Loeb, who acquired a stake in Disney in 2020 and sold it earlier this year. characterized the conversation as “extremely cooperative, non-hostile, and cohesive”, including Loeb’s recommendation to change the
Chapek defended the board, saying it has an average tenure of four years and a broad “broad skill set.”
However, he added:
Loeb also asked Disney to buy a 33% stake in Hulu streaming service Comcast before January 2024. Disney has options Buy remaining shares. Some Wall Street analysts are calling on Disney to settle Hulu’s ownership ahead of the deadline.
Chapek said he was “hoping” to resolve the issue, but said Comcast seemed reluctant.
“We have spoken to them many times over the past year or so,” he said. “If it’s on the cards, I’d love to do it, but it takes two to tango.” pointed out that streaming service.
Chapek spoke from the sidelines at the annual D23 conference in Anaheim, California, where the company unveiled the streaming and theatrical versions to thousands of fans. Disney has released trailers for the highly anticipated sequels to his two films, Black Panther, due out this fall. Wakanda Forever When Avatar: Path of Water.
There were also previews of Disney Plus original series, including Star Wars prequels. Andor and Marvel series secret invasion.
Chapek said the slate represents the end of the production bottleneck caused by the coronavirus.”This is our new steady state.” [of production]’” he said, noting that both the pace of production and the size of its content budget (around $30 billion) remained flat.
Disney continues to add customers to its streaming service this year, and by one measure, the streaming business as a whole beyond netflix at the subscriber. But Netflix’s revelations that it has lost more than one million subscribers this year cast a dark cloud over the streaming business as a whole, with investors worried about spending too much on content and clamoring for a clear path to profitability. I’m here.
Analysts say Disney’s theme park business is also recovering strongly despite park closures in China. However, the stock is down 26.5% this year compared to his 15.2% decline in the S&P 500.
Chapek said Disney has “enviable commercial momentum” in its content and theme park business, but is suffering from investor “fatigue” around streaming due to problems with Netflix.
“For so long, we’ve been a streaming company, so we’ve benefited from being in the same way that Netflix is. ‘No wonder it’s drawn with the same brush.'” [but] We are not the same company. ”