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Disney gains edge in proxy war, receives BlackRock and T. Rowe Price support

Published 04/02/2024, 04:02 AM
Updated 04/02/2024, 04:04 AM
© Reuters.  Disney gains edge in proxy war, receives BlackRock and T. Rowe Price support

Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) has gained an advantage in its ongoing proxy fight with Trian Partners, with a majority of shares already voted in Disney's favor.

Major investors, including BlackRock, Disney's second-largest shareholder with a 4.2% stake valued at approximately $9.5 billion, are supporting the media and entertainment giant in this conflict. The move is significant for Disney's CEO, Bob Iger, who is actively opposing Trian’s campaign to secure two board positions amidst the company's efforts for a significant revival.

T. Rowe Price, another influential investor holding about 0.5% of DIS shares, has also said it would support the company in this battle.

But despite Disney's current lead, the final outcome remains uncertain as voting continues until the annual meeting.

Trian, led by Nelson Peltz, seeks board seats for Peltz and former Disney CFO Jay Rasulo, arguing for stronger returns to shareholders and a more structured CEO succession planning, highlighting the 2020 succession missteps at the company.

Disney has responded to Trian's campaign by emphasizing the potential disruption Peltz's board membership could cause. The battle, possibly the most costly proxy fight in history, has seen both camps aggressively seeking shareholder support.

Trian, holding a 1.8% stake in Disney, has gained additional support from Ike Perlmutter, a major individual shareholder, enhancing its voting power.

Other stakeholders, including Neuberger Berman and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, have expressed discontent with Disney's management, siding with Trian.

Meanwhile, another activist investor, Blackwells Capital, is also vying for board seats but has not made significant progress.

Disney shares closed 0.7% lower on Monday.

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