The financial architect of Marriott Corp.'s dramatic and innovative hotel expansion program of recent years is moving to a key management role at Walt Disney Productions, fueling Wall Street speculation that Disney may adopt similar aggressive financing for an expansion of its own.
The move is also increasing speculation about a possible venture between Disney and n, in effect, financing the very rapid hotel expansion of the company and yet having Marriott in today's position of earning a lot of money on those hotels on a management basis."
Disney has said in recent months that it would like to use a similar program to develop its own assets. The company owns several hotels and other properties that could be sold to others and then leased back for operation by Disney, and Eisner and Wells have said the company would like to build additional hotels on its vast landholdings adjacent to Disney World. The firm has even hinted at the possibility of selling its theme parks to others who would let Disney continue to operate them.
Disney and Marriott have been rumored to be discussing some sort of mutual operating arrangement for some time, and analysts yesterday foresaw a scenario in which Marriott might develop new hotels under the Disney name. "Whatever you can speculate now will probably be more likely in six months," Doyle said.
Dasberg confirmed that there was a possibility that Disney and Marriott might cooperate.