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Disney shareholders back CEO Iger and sitting directors, defeating activists' campaign

Published 04/03/2024, 03:19 PM
Updated 04/03/2024, 03:20 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Nelson Peltz founding partner of Trian Fund Management LP. speak at the WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach, California October 25, 2016.  REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo
DIS
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Apr 3 (Reuters) - Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) shareholders have backed Chief Executive Bob Iger and other company directors, ending a multimillion-dollar mud-slinging battle launched by activist investors Trian Fund Management and Blackwells Capital.

The vote to re-elect all 12 of Disney's current board members, announced at the company's annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday, defeated the campaign by the investors who argued the entertainment conglomerate had underperformed in the streaming-television era.

Here are the key events in the boardroom saga:

Date Event

Oct. 7, Activist investor Daniel Loeb urges Disney to

2020 forgo paying a dividend and use the cash to

make and buy more programming for Disney+

Oct. 12, Disney restructures its media and entertainment

2020 businesses to accelerate Disney+ growth

May 16, Third Point liquidates its position in Disney

2022 during the first quarter, two years after the

hedge fund first invested and began urging the

media company to spend more aggressively on its

streaming platform

Aug. 15, Third Point discloses a stake of roughly $1

2022 billion and says it plans to push the media

company to make a string of changes

Sept. 11, Third Point's Daniel Loeb backs off from

2022 pushing Disney to spin off ESPN

Sept. 30, Disney announces a truce with activist investor

2022 Third Point, saying it will appoint tech and

media veteran Carolyn Everson to the board

Nov. 8, Disney reports higher streaming customers, but

2022 high costs disappoint investors

Nov. 21, Bob Iger returns to Disney as chief executive

2022 less than a year after he retired, in a

surprise comeback

Nov. 28, Iger says one of his top priorities was to make

2022 the company's streaming business profitable

Dec. 8, The ad-supported version of the Disney+ service

2022 launches, attracting major advertisers from

different sectors

Jan. 12, Activist investor Nelson Peltz formally

2023 launches a battle for a board seat at Disney

Jan. 17, In a letter to shareholders, Disney defends its

2023 board for denying Peltz a seat, saying he

"lacks the skills and experience" to help the

company

Feb. 8, Disney

2023 announces

restructuring; cuts 7,000 jobs as

part of its efforts to save $5.5 billion in

costs and make its streaming business

profitable

Feb. 9, Peltz declares that his proxy fight is over

2023

May 15, Trian adds to its stake in Disney by purchasing

2023 roughly 500,000 more shares since the end of

March, giving it a total of 6.4 million

Nov. 15, ValueAct builds a large stake in Disney and

2023 sees room for the entertainment giant's stock

price to roughly double, sources familiar with

the investment firm's thinking said.

Nov. 30, Peltz pushes ahead with plans to seek at least

2023 three board seats at Disney as Trian is not

satisfied with Iger's changes, several people

familiar with the matter say

Dec 14, Disney braces for a bitter proxy battle as

2023 Peltz nominates himself and former Disney Chief

Financial Officer James "Jay" Rasulo to the

company's board

Jan. 3, ValueAct and Blackwells move to provide backing

2024 to Disney as it defends itself against a board

challenge from activist investor Trian Fund

Management.

Jan. 16, Disney

2024 says

it "does not endorse" the

candidates nominated by activist shareholders

in a preliminary proxy filed with Securities

and Exchange Commission.

Jan. 31, Trian

2024 urges

Disney shareholders not to

re-elect two sitting board directors Maria

Elena Lagomasino and Michael Froman.

Feb. 1, Disney

2024 sets

the shareholder meeting for April

3

Feb. 6, Blackwells

2024 urges

Disney shareholders to elect its

three board candidates, and suggests strategic

options including a potential separation of the

company into three entities that could

eventually become standalone public companies.

Feb. 7, Disney announces $1.5 billion stake in Epic

2024 Games, plans to launch an ESPN streaming

service in 2025 and a new $3 billion share

repurchase plan.

Feb. 28, Disney and Reliance Industries announce $8.5

2024 billion merger of media assets in India.

Feb. 29, Grandchildren of Roy and Walt

2024 Disney, founders of Disney,

back

CEO Iger and the board, opposing

activist investors in the proxy fight.

Mar. 4, Trian's Peltz

2024 blames

"poor oversight" from Disney board

for the company's issues, argues Disney was

slow to adapt to industry changes including

streaming, made errors in its acquisition

strategy and bungled succession planning.

Mar. 19, Filmmaker George Lucas

2024 backs

Disney CEO Iger in the proxy

battle

Mar. 21, Proxy advisory firm Institutional

2024 Shareholder Services (ISS)

recommends

shareholders vote to elect Peltz.

Mar. 28, Blackwells

2024 sues

Disney in a Delaware court for

information it says may point to possible

disclosure violations in dealings with hedge

fund ValueAct Capital.

Mar. 29, U.S. pension fund California Public

2024 Employees Retirement System (CalPERS)

votes

to elect Trian's two director

candidates to Disney board.

Mutual fund firm and Disney

Apr. 1, investor T. Rowe Price

2024 says

it has voted for the entertainment

giant's directors; BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) also backs Disney

board, sources tell Reuters.

Apr. 2, Vanguard Group, Disney's largest

2024 shareholder

votes to elect

the entertainment giant's

incumbent directors, according to Reuters

sources

Apr. 3, Disney shareholders back CEO Iger

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Nelson Peltz founding partner of Trian Fund Management LP. speak at the WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach, California October 25, 2016.  REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

2024 and other company directors at annual

shareholder meeting

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