Trian’s Nelson Peltz Pushing for Two Seats on Disney Board

Shannen Ace

Nelson Peltz

Trian’s Nelson Peltz Pushing for Two Seats on Disney Board

Activist investor Nelson Peltz of Trian Fund Management wants two seats on The Walt Disney Company’s board of directors, Seeking Alpha reports.

Nelson Peltz
Credit: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Trian Fund Management is one of Disney’s largest shareholders, with stakes valued at over $2.5 billion. Peltz and Trian previously pushed for him to have a seat on the board after Disney privately turned down his request to join. He launched a public run for the seat in January 2023 but ended the proxy war with Disney the next month. In October, sources told the Wall Street Journal that Peltz was seeking an unknown number of seats again.

Peltz has expressed concerns that Disney shares are significantly undervalued and that they need a more accountable board aligned with shareholders. He ended his first push for a seat after Disney announced a major reorganizing and cost-cutting plan.

Ike Perlmutter
Image source: Associated Press

This time around, Former Marvel Entertainment Chairman Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter has handed voting power for his Disney shares over to Trian. They previously controlled 9.4 million shares but with Perlmutter’s stake, control 33 million.

Perlmutter told the Wall Street Journal that he would urge Disney’s board to “immediately welcome one or more Trian board candidates.”

Perlmutter was fired from Marvel Entertainment during waves of layoffs earlier this year. He had supported Peltz’s initial run for the board and also infamously almost fired Kevin Feige, but was stopped by CEO Bob Iger.

Bob Iger Layoffs March 2023 1

In an appearance on CNBC earlier this month, Iger said, “I don’t have specifics about what Nelson is really after or what he will ask for.”

This week, at New York Times DealBrook Summit, Iger addressed the proxy war again, saying, “The board has an obligation to listen to investors. I am certain that the board will hear them out as to what their plans are.”

He added, “It’s not like we have a number of empty [board] seats.”

Immediately after his DealBrook Summit interview, Disney announced they were appointing two new directors to the board, temporarily increasing the board size to 13. James P. Gorman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Morgan Stanley, and Sir Jeremy Darroch, veteran media executive and former Group Chief Executive of Sky, will both be appointed early next year.

The window for shareholder nominations for the board is December 5 through January 4. The nominations would then be voted on at Disney’s annual meeting in the spring.

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