Disney Stock Up as Takeover Rumors Spread
Walt Disney Co. stock rose sharply Wednesday amid speculation that the entertainment kingdom might be the next takeover target of Paramount Communications Inc.
Burbank-based Disney would not comment other than to say it had no information to explain the rise.
The stock, up more than $7 at one point from Tuesday’s close, finished up $5.375 at $109.75 a share in New York Stock Exchange trading.
A group led by Sid Bass, one of the Ft. Worth family of investors, owns about 16% of Disney’s shares, but that holding has been described as long term and amicable. There was no comment from the Bass group Wednesday.
The Bass family in 1984 spent $333 million and took a 25% share of Disney’s stock to help the company ward off hostile takeover attempts by financiers Saul Steinberg of New York and Irwin A. Jacobs of Minneapolis.
However, there has been market speculation that the Bass group might sell its holdings to Paramount, which on Monday dropped its $12.2-billion hostile bid for Time Inc.
New York-based Paramount, which built itself into a media and entertainment conglomerate largely through acquisitions, indicated Monday that it would pursue other acquisitions or ventures after losing a Delaware court battle seeking to block Time’s purchase of Warner Communications Inc.