Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Buy Back, Pay Back

The Berkshire Hathaway of entertainment conglomerates reveals a wee bit of its corporate blue-print.

Jay Rasulo says company will use the same blueprint to integrate LucasFilm into its plans

The Walt Disney Company may not be done shopping, Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo said at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York on Tuesday.

The media conglomerate has been responsible for some of the biggest entertainment deals in the past decade — plunking down $7.4 billion for Pixar Animation in 2006 and following that up with $4 billion deals for Marvel and LucasFilm in 2009 and 2012, respectively.

However, the company’s recent decision to increase its buyback plans and repurchase $6 billion to $8 billion of stock starting in 2014 made it look as though Disney was done with blockbuster purchases.

“It’s safe to say you’ll continue to see us doing acquisitions in the future,” Rasulo told the Wall Street heavy crowd, advising them to not read too much into the buyback plans. ...

As a wise old animation producer said to me today over lunch:

"Disney is a manager of brands now. It's not in the movie business the way it used to be. These days, it just watches over all the different franchises it owns." ...

The House of Walt has its Lucas division (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, its Marvel division Hulk, Iron Man, Spidey), its small, in-house live-action group, and its cartoon division (Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Disney Toon Studios, Disney Television Animation, Marvel Animation, etc.), the division of amusement parks, and the expansive land of merchandise and games.

And, of course, the broadcast/radio/cable network empire. (ESPN, Disney Channel, ABC, among others.)

It really isn't a studio in the old-time sense of the word, when the animation, live-action features and t.v. shows were hand-crafted at 500 S. Buena Vista Street. When that was 87.2% of what the company was.

All that is so 20th century, that it's quaint.


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