Comcast Withdraws Unsolicited Disney Bid
Comcast Chief Executive Brian Roberts said in a Wednesday conference call with investors, ”Unfortunately it has become abundantly clear that Disney does not share our interests.”
“I am very comfortable with our decision to withdraw even though it is not the outcome I had hoped for.”
Comcast unexpectedly announced its bid for Disney in February, proposing a deal that would have combined one of the largest media conglomerates with one of the largest distribution companies in the world. Roberts went public with his bid after Disney’s Chief Executive Officer Michael Eisner rejected Comcast’s initial offer.
The deal at the time was valued at $66 billion, including the assumption of $12 billion in Disney debt. The Disney board also rejected the offer, saying it severely undervalued the company.
Roberts decided to withdraw the bid Tuesday night due to Disney’s refusal to negotiate a merger and concerns from Comcast shareholders about the size of the bid, Reuters reported Wednesday.
“The size of the transaction put so much of our company resources into the deal that some shareholders believed this was a sign that we were losing confidence in the cable business, which we have not,” Roberts said.
Comcast’s announcement officially brings an end to the more than two-month stalemate between the two media giants.
“We have always been disciplined in our approach to acquisitions. Being disciplined means knowing when it is time to walk away. That time is now,” Roberts said Wednesday in a press statement.
The withdrawal of Comcast’s offer comes one day after Disney’s board issued a statement giving full support to Eisner, who has faced intense criticism for his management abilities from several influential shareholders. Last month, Eisner lost his title of chairman of the board after a contentious annual meeting where 45 percent of shareholders opposed his reelection to the board.
Disney officials had no immediate comment on Roberts’ announcement.