What started as grumblings from 2 ex-directors turned into massive disproval Wed via a record withholding vote of 43% of Disney [DIS] shares against chmn/CEO Michael Eisner, but how it will end remains unclear. Eisner now faces a litany of questions not only about his own future but that of Disney. Predictably, Comcast [CMCSA] swooped in minutes after the larger-than-predicted no-confidence vote against Eisner, pumping the media with quotes about how this "unprecedented" withhold vote sends a "powerful" message to Disney’s board and mgmt. "Consistent with this focus, Disney’s independent dirs should immediately meet with Comcast so we can directly present our full and generous proposal and the benefits of the merger," Comcast said, but mentioned nothing of raising its bid. Shareholders at Wed’s crowded annual meeting in Philly expressed doubt (and some boos) over the MSO’s offer, and Disney CFO Tom Staggs told the crowd the company can exceed the EBITDA targets promised by Comcast on its own. (During the meeting, Eisner fielded a shareholder question about whether he’d ever considered a hostile takeover of Comcast: "Yes, but when I woke up my wife told me I was in a dream.") — A Great Day, By George! It was "a great day" for Disney Wed, ESPN chief George Bodenheimer told CNBC last night, pointing to the overall increase in stock value. In after hours trading, DIS finished up 0.14 at 26.79 and Comcast reached 30.60, up 0.20. Pressed about his upbeat description given the negativity in Philly, he characterized the events as a governance matter that’s being handled. When "Bullseye’s" Dylan Ratigan asked if ESPN had traded long-term growth for short-term gain with its recent cable deals, Bodenheimer replied: "These deals are truly a win-win and they set us up for long-term growth…double-digit growth into the next decade."

The Daily


Will Comcast & MASN Play Ball?

Tomorrow, Feb. 29, marks the contract expiration for MASN’s carriage deal with Comcast.

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