Tuesday, 23 April 2024

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Shareholders vote on Nelson Peltz and Bob Iger

Shareholders vote on Nelson Peltz and Bob Iger

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Bob Iger poses with Mickey Mouse attends Mickey’s 90th Spectacular at The Shrine Auditorium on October 6, 2018 in Los Angeles.

Valerie Macon | AFP | Getty Images

Disney shareholders on Wednesday will settle a long-simmering proxy battle led by billionaire investor Nelson Peltz.

Voters will decide whether the company’s board deserves another year together, or if candidates nominated by activist investors, including Trian Partners’ Peltz, should replace certain directors.

Disney’s 2024 annual meeting will begin at 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Disney will air a live webcast of the event, which typically lasts about two hours.

The 81-year-old Peltz, along with former Disney Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo, have waged a quest to land two board seats. They’ve asked shareholders to name them as new directors in place of Maria Elena Lagomasino and Michael Froman.

Disney has secured enough votes to win at the shareholder meeting, Reuters reported Tuesday evening. If the reported votes hold, it would be a significant victory for CEO Bob Iger and a Disney board that has fought hard to keep Peltz and Rasulo at bay.

Nonetheless, Trian can at least claim a financial victory. Shares are up 48% since the firm’s second campaign was first reported.

Peltz, who dislikes being called an activist but has orchestrated successful campaigns at iconic companies like PepsiCoP&G and Wendy’s, controls a $3.98 billion stake in Disney, or about 2% of total shares outstanding. Most of those shares are owned by former Disney executive and Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter, who has supported Peltz and is paying a portion of the expenses relating to soliciting proxies, according to an SEC filing.

Trian claims Disney’s board has failed to generate sufficient returns in recent years as subscription streaming losses have mounted and traditional TV subscribers have declined. Trian has also argued Disney’s board has struggled to plan succession, noting Iger has renewed his contract as CEO five times and had to return to the post in late 2022 after his handoff to Bob Chapek failed.

Jay Rasulo and Nelson Peltz.

Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images | Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Disney has countered that Iger has been righting the ship since his return as CEO, and the company should be left to recover without distraction. The company also said Iger and the board are carrying out a robust succession vetting process, which should be left uninterrupted.

“The whole board is leaning into this forward-looking,…

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