Disney Values Crushed by CEO Bob Iger, New Report Proves

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Disney CEO Bob Iger looking worried in front of the Walt Disney Company building.

Credit: Inside The Magic

If you thought that things might be turning around for The Walt Disney Company since the return of Bob Iger as CEO, some cold, hard numbers about the Mouse’s values say otherwise.

Disney CEO Bob Iger against collage of various films
Credit: Disney, edited by ITM

Bob Iger served as the chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company for nearly two decades, overseeing the revitalization of the famed corporation by expanding Disney Parks worldwide and (controversially) spending billions to acquire huge catalogs of IP like Pixar Animation Studios, Lucasfilm, and Marvel Studios. He formally stepped down in 2020, handing over leadership to Bob Chapek.

That didn’t last long. Bob Chapek was immediately beset by the COVID-19 pandemic, which decimated both theatrical grosses and theme park attendance, Disney’s historically most important sources of revenue. He also wound up in a heated feud with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over LGBTQIA+ support, which led to the Walt Disney World Resort losing its decades-old semi-governmental status in the Reedy Creek Improvement District.

DeSantis speaking with a Disney castle in the background.
Credit: Inside the Magic

Related: Bob Iger’s Upsetting Walt Disney World Announcement Sends Shockwaves Across Central Florida

In short, things went downhill fast. Bob Chapek was removed as CEO by the Disney board of directors, and Bob Iger stepped back up; reportedly, he had not been happy with his successor’s performance and had not exactly been graceful about the initial handover.

But things have still been rocky under CEO Bob Iger 2.0. Massively promoted movies like Wish (2023) and The Marvels (2023) have tanked at the box office, Disneyland and Disney World have seen Guest backlash as prices skyrocket, and Iger himself faced an attempt by activist investor Nelson Peltz to unseat his leadership. Disney also somehow managed to become the target of conservative ire from all directions, transforming the company, once synonymous with “family values,” into an apparent bastion of progressive politics.

Crowds on Main Street U.S.A. at Disney World with Cinderella Castle in the background
Credit: Forsaken Fotos, Flickr

At the same time, Disney has continuously laid off Cast Members since Iger returned as part of his promise to investors to save the company $5.5 billion, although not at the cost of his own $31 million compensation package, of course. During the most recent earnings call, the CEO tried to push the idea that Disney had turned a corner and that investors could be assured of the value of the company.

Financial analysts are not so sure, however. A new report from Yahoo Finance calculates that the company’s Return on Equity (ROE), often used as a succinct measure of a corporation’s profitability, is far, far below the industry standard and shows no indication of change.

Disney CEO Bob Iger over a stock "SELL" symbol
Credit: Inside the Magic

Related: Disney Plans to Replace CEO Bob Iger in New Behind-the-Scenes Chaos

According to its calculation, Disney’s ROE is currently 2.8% (2.8% = US$2.9b ÷ US$104b, based on the trailing twelve months to March 2024). This is dramatically below the industry standard of 14%, which, combined with the company’s 26% loss of net income, spells terrible things for investors.

The summation of the report reads:

“[W]e have mixed feelings about Walt Disney. While the company does have a high rate of reinvestment, the low ROE means that all that reinvestment is not reaping any benefit to its investors, and moreover, its having a negative impact on the earnings growth.”

Given that Bob Iger just barely survived a months-long challenge from investors to keep his leadership of Disney, all this is probably not a great thing for him. Disney is at an unprecedented moment in its history, when the announcement of finally achieving a profit on streaming media actually made its stock drop to an 18-month low because investors were nervous that success today means failure tomorrow. Right now, owners of Disney stock are being spooked by just about everything.

Do you think Disney is in financial straits? Tell us in the comments below!

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