Comcast Pauses Before Next Mouse Move


Comcast Corp. appears in no hurry to raise its offer after The Walt Disney Co. rejected its bid to take over the entertainment company.

Disney’s board unanimously rejected Comcast’s offer as inadequate, only in part because Comcast’s initial $66 billion stock swap offer has dropped to around $55 billion (Comcast shares have slid 10% since launching the hostile takeover bid).

The rejection, Comcast’s stock slide and a rally in Disney shares were expected.

An advisor to Comcast said the MSO’s executives are not interested in Disney “at current market prices,” meaning the company isn’t looking to offer cash or more of its suddenly less-valuable shares.

The adviser said that Comcast’s initial offer was already a 10% premium over Disney’s price before the bid.

Meanwhile, former board members Roy Disney and Stanley Gold are planning a different kind of takeover bid.

They will hold a briefing/rally in Philadelphia March 2 on the eve of Disney board elections.

They want shareholders to vote out Eisner and three other members.Institutional Investor Services, which provides corporate governance recommendations to financial institutions, recommended last week that shareholders withhold their votes on Eisner, which is effectively a vote of no confidence.

ISS’s Cheryl Gustitis suggests that the Disney board’s statement that it would consider other offers is further suggestion of unhappiness with the current running of the company.

"If there had been complete confidence in current performance," she said, "there wouldn’t have been any open doors for a suitor."