Bob Chapek and Shari Redstone, among other usual suspects, are headed to Sun Valley next month for the annual Allen & Co. conference, typically fertile ground for media and technology dealmaking. Matthew Belloni, the longtime Hollywood editor, and William D. Cohan, a former M&A banker, discuss what’s next for Disney and Paramount, Elon, Buffett, ByteDance and more as the stock market cools.
Matthew Belloni: So Bill, we gotta start with Disney. The board is set to meet before the end of the month, and I’m told they will discuss the fate of C.E.O. Bob Chapek, whose contract is set to expire in February. Susan Arnold, the board chair, put out an odd statement last week backing Chapek when he abruptly fired Peter Rice, his top TV executive. You know board politics better than I do: Does this mean Chapek likely gets renewed?
William D. Cohan: Hard to imagine Chapek doesn’t get renewed, despite the recent turmoil at Disney and the fact that its stock is down 40 percent in 2022. Wall Street still seems to be supporting him, at least the research community is. According to the Journal, of the 30 research analysts that cover Disney, 20, or two-thirds, have a “buy” rating on the stock. There don’t appear to be any analysts who have a “sell” rating. Disney is trading around $95 a share, and while that’s down from nearly $200 in March 2021, the consensus price target appears to be around $145 a share, or upside of around 50 percent. So the Street is hanging in there for Chapek, at least at the moment.