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T. Rowe Price backs Disney directors in boardroom challenge with hedge funds

Published 04/01/2024, 05:32 PM
Updated 04/01/2024, 08:05 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of T. Rowe Price Group is pictured at its office in Tokyo, Japan, January 13, 2017.    REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo
DIS
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By Svea Herbst-Bayliss

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Mutual fund firm T. Rowe Price, which owns roughly 11.7 million shares in Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS), said it has voted for the entertainment giant's directors, dealing a blow to activist hedge funds Trian Fund Management and Blackwells Capital as they seek board seats.

T.Rowe Price told Reuters on Monday it voted for Maria Elena Lagomasino and Michael Froman, "the two incumbent directors whose board positions are being challenged."

"T. Rowe Price is comfortable that management has a viable plan to address the important matters facing the company," a spokesperson for the mutual fund firm said.

The mutual fund firm, whose investments and statements on investing are closely watched by rivals, owns 0.64% of Disney, making it a top 20 shareholder.

Blackrock (NYSE:BLK) is also among major investors backing Disney in the proxy fight, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the matter.

With more than half of votes cast, Disney has pulled ahead in its fight against Trian, the report added.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of T. Rowe Price Group is pictured at its office in Tokyo, Japan, January 13, 2017.    REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo

Blackrock and Disney did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on the WSJ report.

Shareholders have until Wednesday to cast their votes in one of the year's most closely watched corporate battles, pitting an iconic American company against two hedge funds that want it to make changes ranging from splitting off the real estate business to cleaning up succession planning.

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