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Parks Management Changes
On Jan. 9, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Tom Staggs announced several key management changes within its segment of The Walt Disney Company, which oversees Disney’s family travel and leisure experiences. These changes will affect, in addition to other businesses, Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fl. and Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif.

George Kalogridis, current president of Disneyland Resort (DL), will become president of Walt Disney World Resort (WDW). Michael Colglazier, current vice president of Disney’s Animal Kingdom at WDW, will become president of DL.

Meg Crofton, who has served as president of WDW since 2006, will continue in her position as president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, U.S. and France. Crofton has held both presidencies concurrently since the global operations position was announced in July 2011 as part of Disney’s restructuring of management roles.

Disney Is A Good Hedge Company
The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) is another company that can keep margins up amid high inflation. The company owns valuable TV networks, like ESPN, that dominate their segments. Disney also owns theme parks, countless hit movie franchises (and associated merchandise), and a strong brand name that makes nearly everything it touches golden. A one-of-a-kind business like Disney can maintain margins by raising advertising rates (for its TV networks) and raising prices of valuable merchandise.

Analysts Predict Dopey Results
Analysts foresee Walt Disney announcing decreased profits on Tuesday, February 5, 2013, when it reports its first quarter earnings. Despite this, they are generally optimistic about the stock. Analysts are projecting Walt Disney to come in with earnings of 77 cents per share, 3.8% less than a year ago when it reported earnings of 80 cents per share.

The consensus estimate has dipped over the past three months from 88 cents. Analysts are projecting earnings of $3.41 per share for the fiscal year. Revenue is expected to be $11.22 billion for the quarter, 4.1% higher than the year-earlier total of $10.78 billion. For the year, revenue is expected to come in at $44.94 billion.

The company has posted increasing profit for three quarters in a row. In the most recent quarter, profit increased 14.4% year-over-year. Going back two quarters, net income rose 24.1% in the third quarter of the last fiscal year and 21.3% in the second quarter of the last fiscal year.

Epic Mickey Epic Fail
Now it's time to say goodbye to "Epic Mickey."

The interactive division of the Walt Disney Co. announced Tuesday that it is closing Junction Point Studios, its Austin, Texas-based developer that created 2010's "Disney Epic Mickey" and its 2012 sequel "Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two." Disney said the closure is part of its "effort to address the fast-evolving gaming platforms and marketplace" and to align its resources with its key priorities.

Disney unveiled plans earlier this month for a new franchise combining a toy line and a game called "Disney Infinity," similar to "Skylanders" from Activision-Blizzard Inc. "Infinity" is being developed by Disney's Salt Lake City, Utah-based developer Avalanche Software and is set to debut in June alongside "Monsters University," the 3-D prequel to the 2001 Disney-Pixar film "Monsters Inc."

UTV Inks Deal
India's Network18 Group Wednesday said its equal joint venture with U.S.-based Viacom Inc. has formed a partnership with Walt Disney Co. to gather content and distribute television channels. The partnership will be 74%-owned by IndiaCast Media Distribution Ltd. -- the Network18-Viacom joint venture -- and the rest by Disney's India unit, Disney UTV.

Network18 didn't reveal any financial details of the deal but said that both IndiaCast and Disney UTV will move their domestic distribution businesses to the new venture, offering 35 channels across the cable, direct-to-home and Headend in the sky, or HITS, platforms. The partnership will help Walt Disney -- which currently offers only nine channels in the kids, youth and movies segments in India -- enhance its visibility and improve revenue generation at a time of rapid growth for the country's media and entertainment industry.

Who agrees that Disney is a good company to own in any economy...
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