Disney’s Activist Investor Ends Proxy War For Board Seat

After the restructuring and cost-cutting moves announced by Disney, Nelson Peltz apparently felt his work was done

Billionaire activist investor Nelson Peltz laid down his arms in the proxy battle to garner a seat on Disney’s Board of Directors, CNBC reported on Thursday.

The move follows the Wednesday announcement of some drastic changes by Disney CEO Bob Iger, who’s giving it a second go-around as the company’s leader. He announced that a company-wide restructuring and $5.5 billion in cuts are expected across all business units. Also, he mentioned that layoffs of 7,000 Disney staffers are imminent.

Peltz, who had a multitude of criticisms around the House of Mouse’s finances that includes its $71 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox in 2019, apparently approved of Iger’s drastic new plans.

“Now, Disney plans to do everything we wanted them to do,” Peltz told CNBC’s Jim Cramer.

The company responded with “appreciation” in a statement on Thursday: “We respect and value the input of all our shareholders and we appreciate the decision by Trian Fund announced by Nelson Peltz this morning… We are pleased that our Board and management can remain focused without the distraction of a proxy contest, and we have tremendous faith in Bob Iger’s leadership and the transformative vision for Disney’s future he set forth yesterday.”

In January, Trian launched the proxy fight that hit a fever pitch recently, with both sides writing letters to Board members and to voting investors. Over decades, he has sat on the boards of many large companies, often as an activist investor. In doing so, he has earned a reputation as “waging campaigns against the management” from the boardroom, as the Financial Times reported.

Trian Fund owns just under 1 billion worth of Disney stock.

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