Disney Puts A Halt To Go.com
Walt Disney Co. has announced that it will close down the Walt Disney Internet Group and its Go.com portal. As a result, 400 out of nearly 2,000 employees will be laid off. Shares in the Walt Disney Internet Group will be converted in to Disney common stock. As a result, Disney will take a US$790 million second-quarter charge, or 37 cents per share, for the issuing of 8.1 million new shares in the entertainment mega-firm. In addition, Disney will also take a $25-$50 million charge for severance packages and other additional costs. Internet initiatives, like Disney.com, will continue as a separate arm of Walt Disney Co. "The Internet continues to be a central focus of our company's business strategy," Michael Eisner, Disney's chairman and chief executive officer, said. "We believe this action should help us gain greater competitive advantage as we leverage Disney's creative content, brands and other assets." In August 1999, Disney acquired Web portal Infoseek in an attempt to create a foundation for what Go.com would become. However, after losing $1.06 billion for the fiscal year 1999, Disney changed the direction of Go.com into a leisure and entertainment site, highlighting Disney-owned content. The Internet Group also lost a high-profile battle over its original stoplight logo, which was ruled an infringement on Web search engine GoTo.com's copyrighted symbol.