Disney Prevails in Proxy Battle Against Activist Investor Nelson Peltz, Shareholders Vote to Reelect Entire Board

Disney Shareholders Reelect Full Board, Defeat Activist Nelson Peltz

In a resounding victory for Disney, shareholders have voted to reelect the media giant’s entire board, rebuffing efforts by activist investor Nelson Peltz and former Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter to effect change within the company.

The decision, revealed in preliminary results on Wednesday, marks the end of a contentious process and reaffirms confidence in the board’s leadership, including CEO Bob Iger’s initiatives to revitalize the $223 billion media empire. Peltz’s Trian Partners had sought to remove two directors, Maria Elena Lagomasino and Michael Froman, citing prolonged share underperformance, a flawed succession process, and misguided investments worth billions.

Peltz’s efforts were thwarted, with Lagomasino prevailing over him by a significant margin, according to sources familiar with the matter. Retail shareholders overwhelmingly supported Disney, leading to Iger securing 94% of the vote. Jay Rasulo, a former Disney CFO nominated by Trian, suffered an even greater defeat against Lagomasino. The outcome represents a significant setback for Peltz, described as his most substantial loss to date.

Despite a turnout in the mid-60s for the director vote, slightly higher than the previous year, Peltz’s bid failed. Another activist, Blackwells, also fell short in its campaign to win board seats.

In response to the outcome, Iger expressed gratitude to shareholders and emphasized the company’s commitment to growth and shareholder value. Disney’s extensive campaign, which enlisted support from influential figures like George Lucas and Jamie Dimon, helped sway sentiment in favor of management.

While Peltz did not secure a board seat, his influence cannot be overlooked. The company spent an estimated $40 million in its defense against Peltz, whose $3.98 billion stake in Disney has seen significant gains despite the setback. Nonetheless, Disney faces ongoing challenges, including the search for Iger’s successor and the need to adapt to shifting consumer preferences in the streaming landscape.

Ultimately, shareholders opted to uphold the status quo, believing in Disney’s vision for the future despite the activist pressure. As the company moves forward, it must navigate these challenges while staying true to its commitment to innovation and excellence.

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