Shareholders tally price of cheese

Walt Disney shareholders, who are suing former and current board members to recoup the severance package given to short-term president Michael Ovitz, have toted up what they figure the Mouse is owed — $262 million.

The figure was tallied in a brief filed with the Delaware Chancery Court late Sunday and consisted of $129.8 million for Ovitz’s severance package plus $132.5 million in interest since December 1996, when Ovitz left the company.

The shareholders broke down Ovitz’s severance as $38.9 million in cash and options valued at $90.9 million as of the date they vested. The exact value of the options has been a matter of disagreement among the various parties involved.

The shareholders’ high-profile lawsuit unfolded at trial from October through January. The shareholders accuse the directors of abdicating their duties to safeguard the company’s interests in dealing with Ovitz.

The directors deny wrongdoing and say they headed off an expensive lawsuit by giving Ovitz the no-fault separation.

Chancellor William Chandler, who presided over the trial, is now considering various briefs being filed by the parties. He is expected to take several months to render a verdict.

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