Eisner: Comcast was rejected before Feb. 9

Feb. 24, 2004 at 1:29 PM

BURBANK, Calif., Feb. 24 (UPI) -- Walt Disney's chairman says he knew well before Comcast's Feb. 9 telephone call the company had drawn a bead on his employer.

Michael Eisner, in remarks to analysts Monday, said he had been warned of the cable giant's intentions well before Comcast CEO Brian Roberts phoned him Feb. 9 with a proposal to buy Disney.

In fact, Eisner said, he and the board decided to reject any Comcast offer and prepared a written response, which he loaded on to his computer, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

"I happened to be sitting at my desk when Mr. Roberts called," Eisner said of Roberts' Feb. 9 call. Eisner said he just punched up the prepared response on his computer screen and delivered it to Roberts "word for word."

Advocates for responsive corporate governance were not impressed.

"You at least owe your shareholders hearing the other side out," said Charles Elson, director of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware.

"To make a decision based on a rumor doesn't seem as though it gives the kind of thoughtful consideration shareholders expect."

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