The Walt Disney Company rejected Comcast Corp.'s takeover bid, but it also kept the cable giant's hopes alive by indicating more money might do the trick. The board's unanimous rejection yesterday (Fe

The Walt Disney Company rejected Comcast Corp.'s takeover bid, but it also kept the cable giant's hopes alive by indicating more money might do the trick. The board's unanimous rejection yesterday (Feb. 16) came one week after Disney chief executive Michael Eisner rebuffed an offer for talks that came from Comcast chairman Brian Roberts in a brief phone call.

Comcast responded yesterday and said the offer still stands. In a statement, the Disney board clearly shows it is keeping all options open.

"We are committed to creating shareholder value now and in the future and will carefully consider any legitimate proposal that would accomplish that objective," the statement says. "In any proposal by Comcast, or any other company, the board will consider and assess the value to be received in exchange for the shares of Disney, and also the appropriate premium to reflect the full value of Disney."

The board noted that Comcast's offer to swap 0.78 of a share of Comcast for each Disney share undervalued the company by at least $6.6 billion based on the closing prices of both companies the day after Comcast announced its offer. Disney's shares rose 15% last Wednesday (Feb. 11) -- the day of Comcast's offer -- then rose 1.4% on Thursday, and dropped 3.8% on Friday to close at $26.92 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Comcast's shares fell 12% from Wednesday through Friday to close at $29.90 on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

Comcast says in a statement its offer "reflects a full and generous valuation based upon Disney's prospects and performance over a long period of time, representing a significant premium over Disney's unaffected share price during any relevant measurement period over the last three years.

"We maintain the belief that our merger proposal represents a sound and compelling proposition for both sets of shareholders," the statement said.


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