Published on 22.03.2024

Walt Disney Stock

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Walt Disney stock price

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Walt Disney's initial public offering (IPO)

The Walt Disney Company has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) since 1962 (ticker DIS, ISIN code US2546871060) and is part of the Dow Jones Industrial Average index and the S&P 500. Its headquarters are located on the Walt Disney Studios premises in Burbank, California.

Company strategy and future

To effectively manage and develop all its activities, The Walt Disney Company is divided into four business segments. First, there is Walt Disney Studio Entertainment, which primarily produces films and music. One of the most successful divisions of Studio Entertainment is Walt Disney Animation Studios, responsible for many classic and traditional animated films such as Snow White, Bambi and The Lion King. Second, there is Walt Disney Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products, which manages the theme parks. Walt Disney now has theme parks within and outside of the United States, a cruise line and a vacation club. Third, there is Media Networks, which includes radio and television. This business segment was built around the American Broadcasting Company (ABC). Walt Disney acquired ABC in 1996 through a merger with Capital Cities/ABC, making Walt Disney one of the first studios to be active in the distribution of films through cinemas, cable TV, radio/TV stations and telephone. Finally, there is Direct-To-Consumer and International, which manages consumer products, Disney Plus and Disney games. All Walt Disney merchandise and licenses go through this division. Walt Disney Publishing Worldwide is also managed within this division, which publishes Walt Disney children's books and comic books, among other things.

Dividends of Walt Disney

Disney consistently paid dividends for forty years until 2020, when the company interrupted dividend payments due to the dramatic business results. As of now, the company has not resumed dividend payouts.

The Walt Disney strategy

Walt Disney symbolises the possibility of building a successful business empire based on personality, perseverance and creativity. As such, he represents the American Dream. He had the ability to do what all innovators do: turn something that exists only in his imagination into a reality that positively influences the reality of others. He was the first filmmaker to succeed in touching and emotionally connecting with people through animation. One of the key elements of Walt Disney's strategy was his ability to explore and view things from different perspectives and take advantage of the synergy of those different perspectives, such as the combination of films and theme parks. After his death, the company continued on the same path, which is perhaps why it remains a successful and independent media empire.

History of Walt Disney

Walt Disney (1901-1966) was an American voice actor, director, producer, writer, animator and a highly successful businessman. He is still one of the most famous figures in the entertainment industry. He witnessed the rapid development of the film industry and revolutionised it in several ways. He made the first full-length animated film, pioneered with sound and colour and created beloved characters like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. He also introduced innovations in the field of theme parks.

In 1919, Walt Disney started drawing for magazines and newspapers at the Pesmen-Rubin Art Studio. In 1920, he founded his own studio. After a rough start, he quickly left the company and started working at the Kansas City Film Ad Company. There, he became interested in animation and decided to establish his own animation studio. Together with Fred Harman, he created cartoons called Laugh-O-Grams. It became a success and Walt Disney was able to buy a small studio building, which was named after the first film. He created successful short films there, but the high costs of his employees led to bankruptcy. He and his brother Roy purchased a cartoon studio in Hollywood, which marked the beginning of the Walt Disney company, initially named the Walt Disney Brothers' Studio, in 1923. In 1926, Walt Disney received a contract from Universal Pictures to produce cartoons. However, he became dissatisfied with the contract as it granted the studios too many rights over his characters. Therefore, he came up with a new character: Mickey Mouse. In 1928, Steamboat Willie, the first cartoon with synchronised sound, was released. In 1932, Walt Disney used Technicolor for the first time, a technique to produce colour films through colourisation. In the same year, Walt Disney received an Academy Award (Oscar) for Mickey Mouse. In 1935, Mickey appeared in colour for the first time and later, other characters followed, such as Goofy, Donald Duck and Pluto. In 1937, Walt Disney created his first full-length animated feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The film was immensely popular and earned $8 million. Many more successful animated feature films followed.

After becoming wildly popular through his films, Walt Disney expanded his activities. He focused on theme parks, inspired by the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen. Walt Disney's first theme park, Disneyland Resort, opened in 1955 in California and featured attractions based on Walt Disney films. In 1965, he opened a second theme park in Orlando, Florida. Walt Disney also ventured into the television industry. When television emerged in the 1950s in America, film producers were afraid that people would no longer pay for movies. Walt Disney, however, saw opportunities and demonstrated that film and television can coexist successfully in commercial terms. In 1950, for example, he produced the TV special One Hour in Wonderland in collaboration with Coca-Cola.

After Walt Disney's death in 1966, the company took on a somewhat neutral character. In 1986, it was renamed The Walt Disney Company. Walt Disney is considered the largest independent film producer in the world. It has never been acquired or part of a larger parent company. In 2004, the largest cable company in the United States, Comcast, made a $66 billion.

This would make Comcast the largest media conglomerate in the world. After Walt Disney rejected the offer and Comcast shareholders no longer wanted to bid, Comcast withdrew its offer.

In 2006, The Walt Disney Company acquired the animation company Pixar through a stock swap. With a stake of 50.6% in Pixar, Apple founder Steve Jobs became the largest individual shareholder of Walt Disney. He was added to the Board of Directors. After the acquisition, Walt Disney's studio produced a new series of successful animated films.

Disney acquired Lucasfilm Ltd from George Lucas for $4 billion in 2012. This acquisition gave Walt Disney the rights to Star Wars and Indiana Jones. The total revenue from all Star Wars films was approximately $8.5 billion by the end of 2017. Prior to the acquisition, Walt Disney had already had a partnership with George Lucas in the United States theme parks.

Disney acquired Marvel Entertainment for $4.24 billion in 2009. Marvel is known for characters such as Spider-Man, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Iron Man and Incredible Hulk.

In 2017, The Walt Disney Company reached a major agreement with 21st Century Fox. The company was split, with a portion continuing independently as Fox Corporation, while the majority was acquired by Walt Disney, including the film studios, production houses and over 400 international TV channels. Additionally, British Sky, Star India and American cable channels such as FX and National Geographic came under Walt Disney's ownership. The acquisition price amounted to $52.4 billion and was partly paid in Walt Disney shares. After the transaction, the former owners of 21st Century Fox held approximately a quarter of all Walt Disney shares.

The information in this article is not written for advisory purposes, nor does it intend to recommend any investments. Please be aware that facts may have changed since the article was originally written. Investing involves risks (e.g price volatility, currency or liquidity risk). You can lose your invested funds. Consider your knowledge and experience when making investment decisions. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results. Markets are volatile and can fluctuate significantly due to economic, political, regulatory, or other developments.

Sources: The Walt Disney Company, ISGeschiedenis, NLP, Investopedia

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