Michael Eisner: Be Our Guestby
Walt Disney figures it has another blockbuster with Toy Story 2, which opens on Nov. 24. But Disney Chairman Michael Eisner can't expect his company to get the same reception from Wall Street anytime soon. For much of the last year, stock in the nation's second-largest media giant has sunk faster than the drop on Disney World's Space Mountain.
To diffuse the latest bad news--Disney's 27% drop in third-quarter earnings report and warnings of a tough year ahead--Eisner took the unusual step of staging a daylong meeting with investors and analysts on Nov. 10 on the studio lot. "Give them credit," says Merrill Lynch analyst Jessica Reif Cohen. "The easy thing to do when things are bad is just to hide."
Eisner and his execs told analysts it could take a year to turn things around around. Disney plans to save $500 million annually by slashing studio overhead, scaling back production, and closing some stores. To send investors home happy, Eisner treated the gathering to a Toy Story 2 screening.