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Activist investor Peltz kicks off battle for Disney board seat

Activist investor Peltz kicks off battle for Disney board seat

The prominent activist investor's Trian Fund Management on Thursday filed documents with the U.S. securities regulator for his election as a director at Disney after the company denied him a board seat.

 Activist investor Peltz kicks off battle for Disney board seat (Photo: Reuters) Activist investor Peltz kicks off battle for Disney board seat (Photo: Reuters)

Billionaire Nelson Peltz on Thursday launched a fight for a board seat at Walt Disney Co to help turnaround the company that he said was "in crisis" due to failed succession planning, mounting streaming losses and overspending on 21st Century Fox's acquisition.

The prominent activist investor's Trian Fund Management on Thursday filed documents with the U.S. securities regulator for his election as a director at Disney after the company denied him a board seat.

Peltz's move is a serious challenge to Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger, who recently returned from retirement to lead the company for a second time.

The battle would pit the activist investor known for his work at consumer companies against Iger who has been one of the most popular figures in Hollywood for decades.

Disney's shares rose more than 1% in premarket trading, with some analysts pointing to Peltz's past successes in bringing changes at firms that he has targeted. The stock had tumbled 39% last year.

"Investors would appreciate additional assurance that past problems won't repeat," Rosenblatt Securities said. "Peltz -- with a change-maker history at targets including P&G, Heinz, and Wendy's -- could provide a measure of that."

Trian Fund Management owns roughly $900 million worth of Disney stock, which equates to an about 0.5% stake.

Peltz, who says Disney's problems are primarily self-inflicted, has not given a detailed plan for achieving his goals.

Sources familiar with Disney have said he has only leveled criticisms without offering possible solutions.

Disney has given Peltz access to the board and management over the last months, but blocked his request to join the board, in part, due to his lack of expertise in media and technology, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The media giant has also faced pressure from Third Point's Daniel Loeb to refresh its board, over uncertainty around profitability of its streaming business and the surprise return of Iger.

Investors will vote later this year on whether Peltz should sit on the company's board. Last year, the annual shareholder meeting was held on March 9.

Published on: Jan 12, 2023, 6:40 PM IST
Posted by: Tarab Zaidi, Jan 12, 2023, 6:38 PM IST