Disney to loose several hundred million in Pooh case!!!
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  1. #1

    Exclamation Disney to loose several hundred million in Pooh case!!!

    Pooh case could cost Disney 'several hundred million'

    By Richard Verrier
    Sentinel Staff Writer

    May 23, 2002

    LOS ANGELES -- Walt Disney Co. revealed in a government filing that a court fight over the merchandising rights to the Winnie the Pooh characters could, in the worst case scenario, cost the company several hundred million dollars.

    The disclosure was made in a quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It marks the first time Disney has notified shareholders of the potential impact of the 11-year-old legal battled with Stephen Slesinger Inc. That family owned firm acquired the merchandising rights to the Hundred Acre Wood characters from author A.A. Milne in 1930.

    "If each of the plaintiff's claims were to be confirmed in a final judgment, damages could total as much as several hundred million dollars and adversely impact the value to the company of any future exploitation of the licensed rights" for Pooh merchandise, according to the filing. "However, given the number of outstanding issues and the uncertainty of their ultimate disposition, management is unable to predict the magnitude of any potential determination of the plaintiff's claims."

    Slesinger's heirs claim the Burbank, Calif., company has cheated them out of $200 million in royalties since 1983 from Pooh-related videos, DVDs, computer software and popular Pooh attractions at theme parks. Disney maintains that it has fulfilled its royalty obligations under a 1983 contract.

    The lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial in February 2003.

    "As this case has gotten closer to trial it has gotten more and more attention, and we thought it was appropriate for us to let our shareholders know," said Disney spokeswoman Michelle Bergman.

    Bonnie Eskenazi, one of the lawyers representing Slesinger, said the filing was significant because "Disney has adamantly denied that there was even a possibility of terminating the future rights to use of Pooh."

    But Disney's lead attorney Daniel Petrocelli said the filing does not change Disney's view that "whatever the outcome of the lawsuit, the Slesinger Co. is not in a position to reclaim and exploit any Winnie the Pooh rights on its own. . . . We think the Slesinger Co. is grossly over-reaching."

    Pooh and his friends are among the most lucrative of Disney characters and a key contributor to the company's struggling consumer products unit. "Clearly Pooh has been a significant franchise and anything that would jeopardize that going forward would have a long-term impact on their earnings," said Tom Wolzien, analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein.

    Richard Verrier can be reached at [email protected] or 1-800-528-4637, Ext. 77936.
    Copyright © 2002, Orlando Sentinel
    ~°o°~ MouseMan ~°o°~ TD Admin ~°o°~

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Las Vegas, Nv
    ya, Disney's gonna pooh themselfs when they loose big,
    the Milne family is not going to get shafted, they have
    prove of the deals Disney made with them. oh well, now
    they know you can't shaft them all, like the JM Barrie fiasco.
    Fr Corey†

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