Disney faces proxy fight from activist investor Nelson Peltz

Activist investor Nelson Peltz wants a seat on Walt Disney’s board, saying he wants to “bring back the magic” to the entertainment and media company.

Peltz’s Trian Group filed a preliminary proxy statement Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission seeking the position after announcing its plans Wednesday.

Peltz said in a Trian press release that Disney had lost its way in recent years, “causing a rapid deterioration in its financial performance from a steady dividend-paying, free-cash-generating company.” empty into high-income businesses with declining earnings power. weak free cash flows.”


Nelson Peltz

Nelson Peltz, founding partner of Trian Fund Management, speaks at the WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach, California, October 25, 2016. (Reuters/Mike Blake/Reuters Image)

In a presentation accompanying the securities filing, Trian noted that Disney’s total shareholder returns “underperformed” the S&P 500 and its proxy peers during the period. periods of one, three, five and 10 years.

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“We believe that current investor sentiment about Disney is low, reflecting the hard truth that Disney is a company in crisis and faces many serious investment challenges. the company,” the presentation said.

Disney shares have fallen by more than a third over the past year. The S&P 500 is down by half, more than 15%.

Ticker ARO FINALLY changes % Change
can be listed The WALT DISNEY CO. 99.82 +3.50 +3.63%

“As an active shareholder on Disney’s board of directors, my goal is to work with Bob Iger and other directors to take decisive action that will improve operations and financial performance.” debt, improved shareholder value and a strong succession plan that will set the stage for sustainable growth over the long term,” he said.

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Disney’s answer

Disney Bob Iger

Trian Fund Management believes that the Walt Disney Company has lost its way under current leader Bob Iger. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty for Disney/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, announced Mark Parker, a member of the company’s board of directors for seven years and the executive chairman of Nike, will be the chairman of the new board.

In a statement, former CEO Susan E. Arnold said, “During his four decades at Nike, Mark led one of the most recognizable consumer brands in the world today. world through various market developments and a successful CEO transition.”

“He is uniquely positioned to lead Disney’s board of directors through this period of change,” he added.


The Trian and Disney relationship

Magic Kingdom Disney World

Cinderella’s Castle in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. (Fox News Digital / Fox News)

Currently, Trian owns about 9.4 million shares of Disney, a company worth about $900 million.

Despite Disney’s big profits, its latest share price and operating performance have been disappointing, Trian said in a January 11 release.

Shares for the entertainment giant are trading near eight-year lows, despite the company’s recent decision to rehire Bob Iger as CEO, Trian said.

The employer noted a 50% decrease in monthly income in 2018.

The clash with Disney could be Peltz’s biggest proxy fight since the bitter battle for a seat on the board of Tide soap maker P&G. During his three-plus years on the P&G board, the stock price rose nearly 80%.

Disney also faced pressure from Third Point’s Daniel Loeb to divest cable sports channel ESPN, revamp its board and buy Comcast’s stake in Hulu, which has about 46 million subscribers.


Walt Disney did not immediately respond to questions from FOX Business.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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