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Disney must show turnaround success for its stock to rise from the ashes: Analyst

Challenges facing Disney's stock were in focus at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia and Tech Conference.

Investors want to see a clear path to a turnaround from boomerang Disney (DIS) CEO Bob Iger before nibbling at a stock plumbing fresh lows.

"What investors really want is they want to see a company that can execute its way to success," said Goldman Sachs managing director Brett Feldman at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia and Tech Conference in San Francisco.

Feldman provides coverage on Disney and other legacy media companies for clients.

"If you are still debating what they are supposed to do, that can be an overhang on the stock," Feldman added. "So the main thing [of importance] is setting a strategy and then setting a strategy that the market thinks will work if you execute on it."

Judging by Disney's stock price, investors are worried about the path forward for Disney under Iger.

Shares of the media giant hit a fresh 52-week low on Tuesday. The stock has tanked over 6% year to date, badly lagging the S&P 500's 17% return.

There remain several issues hanging over Disney's stock price, pros such as Feldman contend.

First — and a new one — are the increasingly contentious contract negotiations with Charter (CHTR).

Disney channels such as ABC and ESPN have been blacked out since last Thursday for the cable customers of Charter-owned Spectrum. The blackout came after the two failed to reach a new carriage agreement.

Mickey Mouse, the mascot of The Walt Disney Company, waves before ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
Mickey Mouse, the mascot of The Walt Disney Company, waves before ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Nov. 27, 2017, in New York City. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images) (Drew Angerer via Getty Images)

Disney urged Spectrum subscribers to opt for Hulu + Live TV to circumvent blackouts on Tuesday, Yahoo Finance's Alexandra Canal reported.

The final outcome of the contract battle could have negative ramifications for Disney's future earnings power if the higher rates it's trying to push through to Charter aren't landed.

Meanwhile, following sweeping layoffs at Disney enacted by Iger this year, investors remain on pins and needles on the next restructuring move.

Iger said in July he would take an "expansive" look at Disney's traditional TV assets, a signal to the Street that a sale of linear TV channels is in the cards amid growing cord-cutting by consumers.

No update from Disney has been provided since. Iger has said that he doesn't want to unload the ESPN brand.

The lack of information appears to be unnerving investors.

"To hear a leader in the industry like Bob Iger acknowledge that you have to put everything on the table right now, I think shows how seriously they're taking this," Feldman said. "It's a real signal to the Street that they're going to do what they need to do so that Disney can have another hundred years of success."

Read more coverage of the 2023 Goldman Sachs Communacopia + Tech conference:


Brian Sozzi is Yahoo Finance's Executive Editor. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn. Tips on deals, mergers, activist situations, or anything else? Email

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