Bob Iger reveals Disney planning on investing $17B in Walt Disney World
Disney and Florida have been going back and forth over the special tax district around Disney World
Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed Monday the entertainment giant has plans for a multi-billion-dollar, 10-year investment in its Walt Disney World park in Florida, a state the company has recently been in conflict with.
During the Walt Disney Company’s shareholder meeting, Iger said the company is "currently planning" to invest over $17 billion in the Florida park. That investment over a decade will result in an estimated 13,000 new Disney jobs and indirectly "thousands" of others, as well as "attract more people to the state and generate more taxes," according to the CEO.
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The announcement about the Disney World investment came amid a response to a question about what steps "have already been taken or will be taken" to protect shareholder value in connection to the Reedy Creek Improvement District conflict between Disney and Florida.
The Florida State Legislature moved earlier this year to pass legislation that made it so that the people on the board running the special tax district encompassing Disney World were appointed by the Sunshine State’s governor.
A board consisting of members picked by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has since taken over the renamed Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, though it saw its authority lessened by the outgoing one, as earlier reported by FOX Business. That move by the outgoing board prompted DeSantis to call for a probe on it.
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Florida and Disney started clashing in early 2022 after the then Bob Chapek-led entertainment giant expressed opposition to DeSantis signing a law regulating the teaching of sexual orientation in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms.
Iger, while responding to the shareholder question, said that "while the company may have not handled the position they took very well," a company "has the right to freedom of speech." He accused DeSantis of seeming to be retaliating against Disney’s stance on the Parental Rights in Education law and trying to punish the company, which he said maintains a total of 75,000 employees in the state.
"Our point on this is, any action that thwarts those efforts simply to retaliate for a position the company took sounds not just anti-business but anti-Florida," Iger told shareholders after revealing the investment plans.
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In February, the business segment at Disney that Disney World falls under – Parks, Experiences and Products — reported generating $8.74 billion in first-quarter revenue, a 21% jump year-over-year. Of that figure, domestic parks and experiences accounted for about $6.07 billion, according to Disney.
DISNEY'S FIRST-QUARTER EARNINGS CONTAIN SOME NOTABLE ELEMENTS