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He Won't Go

By - September 20, 2004

semelThe industry is a-buzzin’ that Terry Semel may leave Yahoo to go run Disney. Here’s my prediction: No f’ing way. Or put another way: Only if he’s insane. Yahoo’s running on all pistons, has significant upside potential, and points toward the future. Disney, well, Disney isn’t doing any of those things.

We’ve seen this picture before, it was called “Barry Diller Isn’t Really Serious About the Internet, Is He?”

Well, turns out, he is.

H’wood is all about power, and sure, Disney is a power play. But who do you think is going to be more powerful in five or ten years, Disney, or Yahoo? A silly question five years ago, but now?

Semel made his bed when he decided to leave H’wood, and now he’s sleeping very well, thank you. If he leaves, it would be a huge surprise to me, and a big mistake for him, IMHO. Leave the dinosaurs to fight over theme parks, lame network sitcoms, and bad films. Companies like Yahoo are in the pole position for the next big wave in media.

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3 thoughts on “He Won't Go

  1. Hashim says:

    maybe that’s why he’ll go. These guys with entrepreneural spirits love just such a challenge.

    I don’t know if he has that spirit, but if he does the job may attract him.

  2. Brian Hayashi says:

    As rare as company opportunities like Yahoo! are, experienced leaders like Terry Semel are even rarer. Disney needs someone that can straddle both sides of the aisle and get everyone on the same page, yesterday.

    We’ve already seen the music-download-as-premium marketplace get chewed up in record time. As far as the new media models go, businesses need to be prepared to haul @ss or die, IMHO. Disney may be prepared to pay Semel a princely sum for his services, and in the meantime, methinks there’s a lot of value in Disney content left to be unlocked.

    Good luck to him, if that’s what he chooses to do.

  3. I wouldn’t say it’s a bad idea. Market cap of both is about the same but P/E of Yahoo is 130 while it is 20 with Disney. Yahoo had 2.61 Billion USD in Revenue, Disney had 30. Yahoo! has 700 million cash flow from operations, Disney 4.73 Billion.

    There might be music in what Yahoo! does now, but it is by far no Disney. If he thrives on a challenge, then the Challenge is much bigger at Disney. Get Disney back on a growth track, get them changing, in on video on demand, TIVO, HDTV, merger of TV and Internet, … the lot… and see Disney’s stock double. Yahoo! will _surely_ not double any time soon, because they are already valued so high.