Comcast ( CMCSA), spurned once in its takeover bid for Disney ( DIS), will return with a higher offer, Disney President Bob Iger predicted Tuesday.
"I think Comcast comes back," Iger said. "I don't know how or when." Iger said Disney's board would "clearly" hold management accountable for meeting its future financial targets, following shareholders' stunning no-confidence vote last week for CEO Michael Eisner and other board members (including Iger). But if there is any timetable for delivering results, Iger said he didn't know what it was. "It certainly hasn't been communicated," he said. "It hasn't been stated." Iger's comments come a day after Roberts said it wasn't viable or realistic for investors to assume that Comcast would bid against itself. Both men made their remarks at a Bear Stearns investment conference in Palm Beach, Fla. But Iger termed a higher bid inevitable, suggesting that a distribution company such as Comcast needs high-quality content -- such as that from Disney -- to succeed. On a related subject, Iger said it was dangerous for EchoStar Communications ( DISH) to drop its carriage of CBS and other Viacom ( VIAB) programming in its current dispute with Viacom. Just as a grocery store can't compete without stocking Heinz ketchup and Kellogg's cereal, he said, "A distribution platform cannot afford to be without best brands." Along with his discussion of Disney's strengths as a content company, Iger acknowledged various shortcomings in the company's performance over the past few years.