Walt Disney Co chief executive Bob Chapek has rejected billionaire activist investor Daniel Loeb’s call to sell or spin off the ESPN sports television network, the Financial Times reported on Saturday.
Loeb, who runs Third Point, in August disclosed a stake of roughly $1 billion in Disney and announced plans to push the company to make a string of changes, from spinning off ESPN to buying back shares and adding new board members.
Disney had been “deluged” with interest from companies seeking to buy ESPN earlier this year amid rumors that the company was weighing a sale of the cable network, Chapek told the FT.
“If everyone wants to come in and buy it or spin it with us, I think that says something about its potential,” the FT quoted Chapek as saying. “I think its potential is within the Disney company.”
“We have a plan for it that will restore ESPN to its growth trajectory.” (Reporting by Anirudh Saligrama in Bengaluru; Editing by William Mallard and Bradley Perrett)