Excerpt: Bass Family, in Need of Money, Forced to Sell 6.4% of Disney

  • Sid Richardson Bass and Lee Marshall Bass, brothers who parlayed an oil inheritance into fortunes estimated last year at more than $4 billion each, and their father, Perry Richardson Bass, have sold 135 million shares of Disney stock to shore up their portfolios.
  • The sale, representing 6.4 percent of the company, generated $2 billion. The shares changed hands at $15 a share, almost 20 percent below the closing price on Wednesday, the day before the trade was announced. Disney stock rebounded to close at $16.98, down 8 percent.
  • The decision to sell the stock at such a large discount to the prevailing market price indicated a distress sale, Wall Street traders said. Clive Bode, a spokesman for Sid and Lee Bass, confirmed that the sale was conducted to raise money for the brothers and their father.
  • “They have very substantial holdings left,” Mr. Bode said, or more than 4 percent of Disney. “The shares were sold to meet liquidity needs, and those have been met with the sale of these shares.”
  • The sale in no way reflects concerns about Disney or its management, Mr. Bode added. “We have a deep and abiding confidence,” he said, in Michael D. Eisner, the chairman and chief executive, “and in the future of Disney.”
  • The Basses’ current troubles appear to be a result of a series of investment setbacks, though it is unclear how their overall portfolio has fared. Mr. Bode acknowledged that the brothers had been forced to raise money because of margin calls.

Source: New York Times