Is Bob Iger Fed Up With One Of Disney’s Most Vigorous Wall Street Critics?

Bob Iger
Associated Press

After his many years in the spotlight, Disney CEO Bob Iger seems to have a thick hide when it comes to dealing with critics. Well, most of them.

BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield appears to have gotten under the CEO’s skin following a series of posts accusing the Disney chief for being, as he put it on August 9, “short-sighted in opting to boost near-term profits (by monetizing to Netflix, Hulu and others) versus investing to build their own direct-to-consumer business.”

Iger blocked Greenfield from seeing his tweets.

Greenfield says he’s “surprised and disappointed,” but declined to comment further. Disney has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Greenfield has had a “sell” on the stock since December 18, 2015, and rated it a “buy” from early 2010 to early 2015.

Iger’s move didn’t sit well with one of the nation’s most prominent business journalists, Bloomberg View’s Joe Nocera. “Getting a little touchy, Mr. Iger?” he tweeted. “Blocking an analyst with a ‘sell’ on Disney stock isn’t exactly a great signal to your investors.”

The BTIG analyst is one of the Street’s most visible media analysts — he’s a frequent guest on CNBC and active on Twitter — and has emerged as one of Disney’s most vocal critics.

He called Iger’s recent decision to introduce direct-to-consumer streaming services for sports and for Disney and Pixar content “too little, too late.”

“When historians look back on who is to blame for the rise of Netflix, we believe they will focus their attention on Disney, under the leadership of Iger,” Greenfield wrote. “Disney has sold Netflix more content across film and television than any other company, with Netflix now ‘a monster’ that we believe has achieved escape velocity.”

The analyst is one of Netflix’s biggest fans.

Greenfield has also had fun on Twitter with Disney’s decisions to not take his questions on its quarterly earnings calls. The last time he made it through was May 2011. For the latest one, on August 8, he posted a picture of himself raising his hand, and wearing a shirt with the ESPN logo.

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