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Chapek nightmare continues for Disney’s Bob Iger

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In 2019, The Walt Disney Co. celebrated a string of monumental achievements, from the successful launch of Disney+ to the acquisition of Fox’s entertainment assets and the blockbuster release of “Avengers: Endgame.”

These triumphs underscored Disney’s knack for capitalizing on its intellectual property (IP) across a wide spectrum of platforms, spanning theaters, theme parks, and streaming services.

However, as we approach the four-year mark since these victories, doubts have surfaced about the wisdom of consolidating these diverse assets under a single roof. CEO Bob Iger has raised questions about whether Disney has grown too expansive for its own good, with some voices on Wall Street advocating for a potential breakup.

Disney’s empire is displaying signs of deceleration in various sectors. Its parks business is experiencing a slowdown, the linear TV division is on a downward trajectory, and the once-rapid growth of Disney+ subscribers has lost momentum. Disney’s performance at the box office appears to have lagged behind its competitors, leading to a nine-year low in its stock price and underperformance compared to the S&P 500.

Two entities

MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson has even gone so far as to propose the creation of two separate Disney entities: one concentrated on parks, Disney+, and studio intellectual property, and the other encompassing everything else, including linear networks, ESPN+, Hulu SVOD, Hulu Live TV, and Disney+ Hotstar.

“Why not make a clean break?” Nathanson queried Iger on the recent earnings call.

Iger has remained tight-lipped about the future structure of the company, underscoring the examination of strategic options for ESPN and the linear networks.

Iger has outlined three pillars to propel Disney’s growth in the forthcoming years: film studios, the parks, and streaming. ESPN, in particular, is poised for a full transition into a direct-to-consumer platform. However, analysts and media experts caution that this journey could prove arduous, given the exorbitant costs associated with sports rights and potential resistance from consumers who are already subscribed to multiple streaming services.

Splitting the company into two entities might enable Disney to shed debt, divest loss-making segments, and provide a clearer vision for its future in a swiftly evolving media landscape.

Studio vs Parks

Bank of America Securities analyst Jessica Reif Ehrlich contends against a clean break, asserting that Disney’s assets complement one another, with studio IP driving the parks while linear networks generate funds for investments in growth areas like streaming.

Ehrlich suggests harnessing the brand’s intrinsic value to explore new opportunities, highlighting ESPN’s $2 billion sports betting deal with Penn Entertainment Inc. as an example of untapped potential.

Yet Nathanson believes that the current corporate structure does not fully unlock the value within Disney’s assets and proposes the establishment of a new company combining Disney’s Parks, Experiences, and Products segment with Disney+ and studio IP, potentially commanding a premium valuation due to its iconic assets and robust revenue growth.

Reevaluating corporate structures is not unique to Disney; other legacy media giants, such as Paramount Global and Lionsgate, have contemplated similar routes. Paramount, for instance, recently abandoned plans to sell a majority stake in BET Media Group, recognizing that it wouldn’t significantly reduce its debt. Lionsgate has also chosen to divide its studio and Starz business, reflecting the broader shift toward the streaming-first era.

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BREAKING: Shots ring out at Trump rally

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Donald Trump was whisked off the stage at a rally in Butler, Pennsylvania after loud noises rang through the crowd.

Trump was showing off a chart of border crossing numbers when bangs started ringing through the crowd. Trump could be seen reaching with his right hand toward his neck. There appeared to be blood on his face.

He quickly ducked behind the riser as agents from his protective detail rushed the stage and screams rang out from the crowd. The bangs continued as agents tended to him on stage.

His motorcade has left the venue.

In a statement, Trump says he is “fine” and says he is being checked at a medical facility.

Donald Trump was safe, the U.S. Secret Service and his campaign said on Saturday after multiple shots rang out at a rally by the Republican presidential candidate in Pennsylvania as video showed Trump grimacing and raising a hand to his right ear.
The former president had just started his speech when gunshots erupted and Trump and other rally attendees hit the deck. Secret Service agents swarmed around him and live video showed blood on the right side of Trump’s face and ear.
 
Trump repeatedly raised his fist in the air, with an American flag visible behind him, as security ushered him away.
“The Secret Service has implemented protective measures and the former president is safe,” a spokesperson for the agency said on X after what it called an incident.
“This is now an active Secret Service investigation and further information will be released when available.”

A map of the site, showing where the alleged gunman was situated compared to Donald Trump.

CNN reported that Trump was injured, but gave no other details. It was not clear how or what injuries he may have sustained.

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NASA astronauts phone home, confident Boeing’s Starliner will return to Earth safely

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Stranded NASA astronauts express confidence in Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft, assuring its capability to safely transport them back to Earth from the International Space Station.

The astronauts, over a video call to NASA, highlighted Starliner’s enhanced safety features and testing protocols as reassuring factors for their safe return.

“I have a real good feeling in my heart that this spacecraft will bring us home, no problem…”, said Sunita “Suni” Williams, one of the stranded NASA astronauts.

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Franchising vs. Independent: key differences to choosing the right SMB model

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With latest Australian Federal budget, many SMB’s are weighing their options when selecting a suitable business model.

Franchising provides brand recognition, operational support, and economies of scale but involves ongoing fees.

Independent businesses offer full control and profit retention but face higher costs and regulatory challenges.

For risk and reward, the franchising model reduces risk through established practices and support but involves ongoing fees and profit-sharing with the franchisor.

On the alternative, independent businesses retain full control of profits but face higher risks and responsibilities in managing the business.

Sonia Shwabsky, CEO at Kwik Kopy Australia, joins to share her key insights on SMB’s. #featured

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