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Disney scraps plans on nearly $900 million investment at new corporate campus in Florida

By Jon Swartz

Walt Disney Co., locked in an escalating political feud with Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, has scrapped plans on a nearly $900 million investment in a new corporate campus in Florida that would have relocated more than 2,000 employees.

"This was not an easy decision to make, but I believe it is the right one," Josh D'Amaro, chairman of Disney's parks, experiences and products division, told employees Thursday in a memo viewed by MarketWatch.

"While some were excited about the new campus, I know that this decision and the circumstances surrounding it have been difficult for others,"D'Amaro wrote. "Given the considerable changes that have occurred since the announcement of this project, including new leadership and changing business conditions, we have decided not to move forward."

Citing "changing business conditions," D'Amaro said the project is dead, and employees will no longer be asked to relocate from Southern California. Many Disney (DIS) employees balked at the company's relocation plans when they were first announced by former Chief Executive Bob Chapek in July 2021. Chapek was fired by the board in November.

D'Amaro said employees who already moved to Florida may be able to relocate back to California. Disney World is Florida's largest employer, with approximately 75,000 workers.

The reversal in Disney's plans to develop in the town of Lake Nona, outside of Orlando, is the latest dispute between the media giant and DeSantis, who last year criticized Disney for publicly opposing a sex-education bill that he had championed. The rise in tensions has led to a spate of lawsuits and increasingly bitter war of words between the two sides.

Disney's stock is flat in trading Thursday.

-Jon Swartz

This content was created by MarketWatch, which is operated by Dow Jones & Co. MarketWatch is published independently from Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal.


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

05-18-23 1442ET

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