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No. 2: Walt Disney

Burbank, Calif.

Revenue: $25.4 billion

Profit: $832 million

If the Mouse House hasn’t been the Happiest Place on Earth this past financial year, take note that executives hope that 4,000 job cuts made this spring is going to help shape up the company’s bottom line and bring back smiles — at least, in the board room.

Pro forma profit was up in 2000 after the shuttering of Disney’s costly Go.com Internet portal. But in comparison, fiscal 2000 repped a 71% profit drop from the previous 12 months — to $920 million — due to a big noncash charge for Netco losses.

“The year ended better than we expected but not better than what we knew was possible,” chief Michael Eisner summarized.

Meanwhile, Disney’s consumer products division was still waiting for the benefits of its ongoing turnaround campaign, homevid operations continued to struggle, and ABC was socked by ratings woes and an economy-driven downturn in ad sales.

As a result, the entertainment and media behemoth in March offered voluntary layoffs to employees throughout its studio operations, ABC, theme parks and elsewhere in the Magic Kingdom. But by June it became apparent 1,000 forced furloughs would be needed to reach the targeted 4,000 job cuts.

Looking ahead, Disney is expected to make some selected acquisitions, as the Mouse House still has ample cash resources despite operational sluggishness. Targets include TV stations and cable webs, as well as the Jim Henson film and TV company.

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