Man Without Qualities

Friday, February 13, 2004

The Fall Of The House Of Eisner V: The Man Without Qualities Get Results!

It was so, so long ago. Eons. A geological era. Over a day ago in the Disney/Comcast kerfluffle, the Man Without Qualities urged:

You there on Wall Street, think of the fees!

And the painful truth of it is that the Man Without Qualities did not have in mind just the fees to be earned from value-enhancing divestitures and restructurings of the post-Eisner mess at Disney, although the plea was couched in that context. No, the truth is that the Man Without Qualities does not think for a moment that those on Wall Street give a rat's ass about whether their fees come from value-enhancing transactions at all. Wall Street just wants fees. And, although I would like to think I acted in the service of a higher good, it was that basic inclination of Wall Street that the Man Without Qualities was seeking to stimulate with the clarion call: Think of the fees!

And I am deeply satisfied with the increasingly plentiful signs that Wall Street is rising(?) to the challenge laid down by the Man Without Qualities, as with this sample:

The New York Times:

As soon as the bid was announced, eager investment bankers trolling for new deals began pelting executives of Time Warner ... with phone calls warning of dire implications. The advice went like this ... Time Warner would miss its chance to own Disney's ABC television stations, another valuable bargaining chip. The pitch: bid for Disney.

Los Angeles Times:

In making its bid for network parent Walt Disney Co. this week, cable giant Comcast Corp. blamed the long-suffering ABC for dragging down Disney's fortunes. The network, the industry's most profitable when Disney agreed to buy it in 1995, lost by some estimates as much as a half-billion dollars last year.

Ah, the tender mercies of the market for corporate control!

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