Slugging it out against the media giant are two activist hedge funds who are making separate bids to have their representatives win seats on the Disney board.
At the heart of the battle is Disney’s poor performance over the last three years. The share price has nearly halved from its 2021 peak of $203 and, although the stock has performed well since the company’s forecast-beating fourth-quarter results Feb. 7, the activists believe Disney needs a new strategy.
Let’s examine who’s involved and the stakes at play:
Who Are The Main Players?
In the Disney camp is Bob Iger, the company’s veteran CEO who was recalled from retirement to the top slot just over a year ago, replacing the short tenure of Bob Chapek.
Once regarded as one of the best corporate leaders of all time, Iger vowed to stop the rot in the share price, turn around unprofitable areas of the business and regain the company’s reputation for quality film-making.
On the other side is Nelson Peltz, who owns activist hedge fund Trian Fund Management, and Blackwells Capital’s Jason Aintabi, who are making separate bids to have their respective nominees elected to the Disney board.
Trian, along with former Marvel executive Isaac Perlmutter, have a combined Disney stake valued at $3.5 billion. Blackwells, by comparison, has only $15 million worth of shares.
What’s The Beef?
Disney’s share price performance and lack of quality earnings over the last three years have driven the activist shareholders into action. They are demanding a change of strategy.
Aintabi, in Blackwells’ Feb. 6 letter to Disney shareholders, said: ” Voting for Blackwells’ nominees will ensure the Board has the support it requires across critical areas: media and content, real estate and asset optimization, and the proficiency to guide Disney through a new world where physical, spatial computing and AI-driven experiences converge.”
Peltz’s Feb. 1 letter urged shareholders to vote himself and Jay Rasulo onto the board so that “Disney can once again claim its #1 position at the box office.”
The two would insist management develop a plan for the streaming…