Get a demo Do I subscribe? News sign-up
Print

Disney Screws NewsCorp for Keener Fox Family Deal

News, 24 October 2001


Among the myriad achievements of Walt Disney chairman Michael Eisner, arguably the most impressive is his latest feat: screwing a lower price from Rupert Murdoch after shaking hands on a deal.

According to those in the know, Disney will today (Wednesday) announce the acquisition of Fox Family Channel from NewsCorp and Fox co-owner Saban Entertainment for around $100 million less than the price originally agreed.

Eisner served notice last week that Disney expected a renegotiation of the $5.3 billion deal, first sealed in July. Since when the US economic decline and its knock-on effect on the advertising market gave Eisner his cue to tighten the screw.

In effect, the $100m reduction is peanuts – less than two percent – petty cash to Murdoch and his partner Haim Saban in return for a quick sale and the avoidance of possible protracted legal proceedings. Murdoch, in particular, needs to bolster his liquidity fast should NewsCorp’s bid for DirecTV succeed.

Eisner, never averse to trimming a buck or two from others, on Tuesday invited staff at Disney World to volunteer for a 20% cut in hours and salary. It is not known whether he plans to set a similar example of self-sacrifice.

News source: Financial Times