Disney Stops Issuing Paper Stock in Blow to Collectors

Walt Disney Co. plans to stop issuing stock certificates, delivering shares only in electronic form in a blow to would-be collectors of the documents featuring drawings of Bambi and Mickey Mouse.

When investors transfer shares, paper ones won’t be reissued, Disney said yesterday in a regulatory filing. The changes, which take effect on Oct. 16, will shrink the supply for websites pitching the items as a way to interest children in investing. The company said it will offer non-negotiable certificates as a substitute.

Collectors have made Disney certificates the most popular at GiveAShare.com, a Gilbert, Arizona-based company that provides the documents in a frame for a fee. While many companies have eliminated paper shares to save money, Disney’s have stayed top sellers, said Bob Kerstein, founder of Scripophily.com, a website for collectors.

“It’s such a PR tool for them,” Kerstein said. “Disney was the major holdout. I’m pretty surprised. Everybody’s in cost-cutting mode.”

Disney’s stock certificates feature founder Walt Disney surrounded by Dumbo, Donald Duck and other characters, according to the website Oneshare.com, which also offers framed shares for a fee.

“Like hundreds of other companies, Disney will no longer be issuing paper stock certificates in an effort to create a more secure and efficient system,” the company said in a statement. Collectors may request non-negotiable “certificates of acquisition,” Disney said.

“It’s not the same as a stock certificate, but it’s nice that Disney is recognizing fans want something,” Kerstein said.

Collector’s Items

Stock certificates dating back to the company’s initial public stock offering and hand-signed by Disney can fetch more than $25,000, Kerstein said. Companies have been doing away with them for years because of the expense, he said.

GiveAShare’s favorites list includes Disney, Harley-Davidson Inc. (HOG) and Facebook Inc. (FB) Because Facebook issues its stock electronically, GiveAShare provides a personalized replica, according to the site.

Disney’s change is likely to spark a last-minute rush among collectors and higher prices for existing certificates, according to Rick Roman, a co-founder of GiveAShare.

“Since we started, Disney has been the most popular,” Roman said in an interview. “It appeals to kids, they have one of the best-looking certificates and there’s some fanatical adults that want them as well. That ends up being a good way to teach kids about stocks.”

Disney, based in Burbank, California, fell 0.6 percent to $63.59 at the close in New York. The stock has gained 28 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Palmeri in Los Angeles at cpalmeri1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.