Disney triumphs over the board invaders

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The Future. The Walt Disney Company is keeping the status quo in the boardroom after defending a very public proxy battle with activist investor Nelson Peltz and his Trian Partners firm. While the shareholders clearly stayed in Bob Iger’s corner, the Disney CEO sees the skirmish as a warning, which could lead him to name a number of potential successors over the next quarter.

Mouse hunt
Iger can rest easy tonight knowing that the expensive fight with Peltz (Disney spent $40 million) has come to an end.

  • All of Disney’s 12 existing board members (Iger included) soundly defeated Trian’s board nominees: Trian principal Nelson Peltz and former Disney CFO Jay Rasulo (and the nominees from activist investor Blackwells, but that matters less).
  • Trian’s nominees did receive the backing of about 25% of shareholders, though, including advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services and California’s pension administrator, CalPERS.
  • That does mean there’s some agitation around the issues that Peltz brought up, including creative direction, streaming strategy, and succession plans (plus the many grievances brought up in Trian’s 130-page white paper).

The board vote was so unusually public because Disney has a larger number of retail shareholders than most public companies, according to THR, which turned a niche dispute into an open drama that brought out influential figures like George Lucas, Michael Eisner, and even the families of Walt and Roy Disney.

When the dust finally settled, Disney’s stock was down by 2%. What a rollercoaster.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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