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Activist Investor Nelson Peltz Will Take His Case to Get on Disney Board Directly to Investors

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Nelson Peltz isn’t done trying to shake up Disney‘s board.

Peltz’s Trian Fund Management investment firm, which owns about $3 billion in Disney stock, issued a statement Thursday that after the Mouse House’s board rejected Trian’s request for board seats, the hedge fund will “take our case for change directly to shareholders.” Trian is seeking two seats on Disney’s board, CNBC reported. The firm oversees more than $2 billion worth of Disney shares held by former Marvel Entertainment chairman Ike Perlmutter, who has been vocal critic of Disney CEO Bob Iger and was dismissed from the company in March.

The announced intention by Trian to launch a proxy fight to get its directors on the board comes a day after Disney named Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman and former Sky chief Jeremy Darroch as new directors.

In a statement Trian said, “This morning, following conversations with Disney’s CEO, Disney extended an offer to Trian to meet with the board but informed Trian that the board is turning down Trian’s recent request for Board representation, including Nelson Peltz.”

Trian’s statement continued, “Since we gave Disney the opportunity to prove it could ‘right the ship’ last February, up to our reengagement weeks ago, shareholders lost ~$70 billion of value. Disney’s share price has underperformed proxy peers and the broader market over every relevant period during the last decade and over the tenure of each incumbent director. Investor confidence is low, key strategic questions loom, and even Disney’s CEO is acknowledging that the company’s challenges are greater than previously believed. While James Gorman and Sir Jeremy Darroch represent an improvement from the status quo, the addition of these directors will not, in our view, restore investor confidence or address the root cause behind the significant value destruction and missteps that this board has overseen. Trian intends to take our case for change directly to shareholders.”

In January, Peltz’s Trian unleashed a targeted campaign to criticize Disney’s corporate management and recent under-performance of the stock. At the time, Peltz pushed to have himself added to the Disney board.

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But by Feb. 9, Trian had reached a truce with Disney, which at the time was readjusting to the return of Iger as CEO in November 2022 after the surprise ouster of ex-CEO Bob Chapek. Peltz withdrew his bid for the board seat after Disney unveiled a broad restructuring of operations and made other commitments to streamline company operations.

Source: Variety

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