On most days, we get a little thrill out of shooting spitballs at erstwhile Chief Mouseketeer, Michael Eisner. And today is no exception. This time we didn’t even have to work for it. He just gave it up to the New York Post, without so much as a flicker of demure hesitancy. In a piece about Herb Allen’s annual Sun Valley retreat, Eisner insists that Disney’s 1995 acquisition wouldn’t have possibly happened without the conference because it gave him the opportunity to run into Warren Buffett on the golf course.
As Michael Eisner recalls it, he “arranged” to bump into Warren Buffett – at the time ABC’s majority shareholder – and ABC head Tom Murphy. “I was walking behind my condo; they were going to the golf course,” recalled Eisner yesterday in an exclusive interview with The Post over lunch at the Sun Valley Lodge.
We can just imagine Eisner’s careful orchestration:
The takeaway, as they say in CorporateSpeak: If you want to do a major M&A deal, you must casually arrange to bump into the largest shareholder at a fancy mogul conference that only occurs once a year. Because calling and setting up a meeting to discuss would be too obvious.
A Bite With Mike [NYPost]
We’re not sure who at CNBC decided that Michael Eisner needed a talk show, but we suspect that it may be the same person who decided Tina Brown and Dennis Miller needed a talk show. We were passively watching it late Wednesday night when our cable provider decided to invoke the Emergency Broadcasting System siren, and the screeching buzzer was almost better TV.
We’ll admit that it was fun to watch Eisner interview Sir Howard Stringer and ask him questions about Michael Ovitz while trying not to flinch, and the preview for the next show–Regis Philbin grilling Eisner about why he pulled ‘Millionaire’–was entertaining if only because we don’t think Philbin could even get a meeting with Eisner when Eisner was still “working,” but…
Eisner is a charisma black hole. Where even the most loathesome people have a smidgen of charisma they can pull out in case of emergency/multi-million-dollar syndication deal/divorce court hearing, Eisner has a big empty void, a charisma abyss. On a scale of one to charismatic, Eisner is a negative 10 Clintons. It’s painful. And we’re apparently not the only ones who think so.
During the call-in portion of Jim Cramer’s show just now, a caller complained that he turned on CNBC at 9PM Wednesday, expecting to find Mad Money, but it wasn’t there. Cramer: “That’s Cramer being a team player!” [Cramer pushes a button, gratuitous sound effect.]
Caller: “Yeah, but how’s that guy gonna make me any money?”
Cramer: “That’s Cramer defaulting to teeeeam player!”
Somewhere at CNBC, a call screener is getting a slap to the back of the head.