After making an unsolicited $54 billion
Unanimous support for CEO
Disney's board, which this week announced its unanimous support of the battered Mr. Eisner, had rejected the Comcast bid as too low. The two companies had no formal talks on the matter, with Comcast's CEO, Brian Roberts, saying publicly that Mr. Eisner had refused to discuss the bid in detail.
"It has become clear that there is no interest on the part of Disney's management and board in putting Comcast and Disney together," Mr. Roberts said in a statement.
Comcast, meanwhile, also announced that it would reinstate its $1 billion share buy back. Analysts said they expect the company to refocus on its core cable business and perhaps still look for a content acquisition, but on a much smaller scale than Disney.
Roy Disney, nephew of Disney's founder Walt Disney and a former Disney board member, launched another round of criticism of Disney and Mr. Eisner after Comcast's announcement. He and Stanley Gold, his business partner and former Disney board member, blamed the "do nothing" board for keeping Mr. Eisner in place and casting a pall over the entertainment giant.
Messrs. Disney and Gold said that they were not surprised that Comcast dropped its bid.
"New leadership is the best way to improve value for the Disney shareholders," they said in a joint statement. "The sad reality for Disney shareholders is that they have a lame duck CEO and a do nothing board -- both oblivious to the serious decline in long-term performance. Once again, we ask, 'What will it take to get this board to do the right thing?'"