Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger told shareholders March 10 that one
option for the future of ABC network could be a spin-off. Iger signaled a
wholesale review of corporate assets at the meeting in Florida. He said while the company was happy
with its current asset mix under five umbrellas, ABC, Disney, ESPN, Pixar and
Marvel, he added; "We always look at the long-term prospects for each of our
businesses with an eye toward making sure that we continue to grow our company
and provide the kind of shareholder value that our shareholders expect when
they invest in our company. So there are no guarantees in terms of what
will remain part of our company and what will not."
Disney has already announced it would let go of 25% of ABC News staff, which
could mean as many as 400 people exiting the company. Disney has already moved
to restructure some of its TV businesses, merging its production studios with
ABC network production capabilities and putting Stephen McPherson in charge.
McPherson is president of ABC Entertainment Group. The network also recently
lost its president of ad sales, Mike Shaw, who is remaining as a consultant to
the company. Disney has also been embroiled in a dispute with Cablevision over
retransmission payments for its ABC network. The two parties are still
currently working on a deal.