Billionaire activist investor Daniel Loeb backed off from pushing Walt Disney Co to spin off ESPN, saying he has a “better understanding” of the sports television network’s potential for growth.

This comes after Disney Chief Executive Bob Chapek reaffirmed the value of ESPN to the media company.

“We believe that ESPN is an asset that is well placed within the Walt Disney Company,” Chapek told Reuters.

The investor said in a tweet on Sunday that he looks forward to seeing ESPN Chairman James Pitaro execute on the growth and innovation plans, “generating considerable synergies as part of” Disney.

Loeb, who runs Third Point, in August disclosed a stake of roughly $1 billion in Disney and announced plans to push the company to make a string of changes, from spinning off ESPN to buying back shares and adding board members. 

Chapek said that Walt Disney values ESPN as an asset, stating the sports broadcasting brand is "well placed" within the company.
Chapek said that Walt Disney values ESPN as an asset, stating the sports broadcasting brand is “well placed” within the company.
REUTERS

Loeb, who runs Third Point, in August disclosed a stake of roughly $1 billion in Disney and announced plans to push the company to make a string of changes, from spinning off ESPN to buying back shares and adding board members. 

On Loeb’s plan to push Disney to add new board members, Chapek defended the board, saying it had a broad “range of skillsets” and that the average tenure on it was four years.

Third Point, which owns roughly 0.4% stake in Disney, has also proposed that Disney accelerate the timetable for buying the remaining stake in streaming service Hulu from minority stakeholder Comcast Corp ahead of the planned 2024 acquisition.

Chapek told Reuters he has been in conversation with Comcast about accelerating the timetable for the acquisition. “I would think it would make sense to them because it’s inevitable,” he said.



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