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Disney head: Future is rosy

"I thought of changing my name to Disney," Eisner tells Larry King.

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LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Disney chairman and CEO Michael Eisner has said that despite recent headlines spelling doom for his company, business is going well.

"As far as the essential part of our business we're doing great," Eisner told CNN's Larry King in an exclusive interview.

The Walt Disney Co. recently rejected a surprise merger offer from Comcast Corp. valued at $54 billion.

The proposed deal put more heat on Eisner, who is facing trouble with dissident ex-Disney directors Roy Disney and Stanley Gold.

The two are leading a hostile campaign urging shareholders to oust Eisner.

Eisner shrugged off the attempts, saying that at his level, he will always have critics.

"I've been doing this a long time and you spend a lot of time trying to do what's right and concentrate on the bottom line, concentrate on creative excellence, and sometimes you have disagreements with people," Eisner said.

The Disney chief said he is surprised by how far Roy Disney has taken his disagreement "because our performance has been so good and our creative output has been so superior -- we've never done better in our history."

Eisner said he can't comment on Disney's motives because he never had conversations with him about the disagreement.

"And maybe that's part of the problem," he said, adding that he has respect for Roy Disney.

Disney and Gold blame Eisner for mismanaging the huge empire over the past decade.

Among the examples they have cited is the recent breakdown in talks with Pixar Animation to extend the collaboration that has brought Disney such hits as "Toy Story" and "Finding Nemo."

Eisner told King that he wanted to continue a relationship with Pixar but the deal would have benefited only the computer animation company.

Although he is surprised that the disagreement with Roy Disney has been taken so far, Eisner said he's not surprised that there was a disagreement to begin with.

"I had some sense that everybody in my life isn't happy," he said.

"When you're turning people down or you're trying to get a certain kind of creative excellence or you're trying to make sure you're a contemporary company and you're relevant and you're still trying to honor the past, everybody doesn't agree with everything you're going to do."

Eisner did acknowledge that facing Roy Disney is more challenging than facing someone with another name.

"I thought of changing my name to Disney," he joked. "It's a better name than Eisner. Let me put it that way."


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