In a press release regarding their own nominees for The Walt Disney Company Board of Directors, investment firm Blackwells Capital took a shot at Nelson Peltz and Trian Group, stating they have not “offered a single strategic idea that would benefit shareholders.”
Blackwells Capital and Disney Board
Chief Investment Officer of Blackwells Capital Jason Aintabi said in the press release (via Global Newswire),
According to Disney’s own preliminary proxy statement, Mr. Peltz has requested on behalf of Trian a seat on Disney’s Board no less than 24 times in the last year and a half. During that time, Mr. Peltz has not offered a single strategic idea that would benefit shareholders. Astoundingly, Mr. Peltz recently claimed that he would like ‘a guy who doesn’t have media experience’ on the Disney Board. We remind Mr. Peltz that Disney is a significant media company and, now more than any time in its history, needs Board members with deep media experience.Jason Aintabi, Chief Investment Officer of Blackwells Capital
Blackwells’ nominees are Jessica Schell, Craig Hatkoff, and Leah Solivan, who they believe will “support Disney’s transformation efforts, adding expertise that is demonstrably lacking, while making sure the Disney Board doesn’t become a forum for personal grievances and reckless behavior.”
Aintabi stated that Schell “has more media experience than the Trian nominees combined, and would bring a critical perspective that is missing from the Disney Board.”
Blackwells Capital also invited Ike Perlmutter, who supported Peltz’s push for board seats by handing control of his shares to Trian, to “engage with Blackwells with regards to our investment thesis for Disney, and to meet with our nominees.”
Mr. Perlmutter can then consider that our nominees will provide critical support in the areas of media and content, technology and real estate – the latter of which we believe represents up to 50% of the entire market value of Disney, and where, underwhelmingly, Disney has no such expertise on its Board. Additionally, with unprecedented innovation in AI, VR and AR, and more, Disney will benefit from Ms. Solivan’s experience in these fields, which is underrepresented on the current Disney Board.
Blackwells also invites the Disney Board to meet with their nominees “in order to promote the free-flowing exchange of ideas that comes with constructive collaboration.”
Blackwells also expressed disappointment in Disney’s agreement with ValueAct Capital.
Disney’s share price already suffers from a significant information discount, as recently noted by several key market analysts. Showering one shareholder with information that is withheld from all other shareholders, will only make matters worse. We therefore also demand that Disney agree to make public all information that is shared with ValueAct under the so-called ‘information sharing agreement’.
Trian Group nominated their CEO Nelson Peltz and former Disney CFO Jay Rasulo. In a recent statement, Peltz said he and Rasulo are “going to be Batman and Robin.”
The Walt Disney Company’s nominees are the current members of their Board of Directors, plus James P. Gorman, who is joining the Board on February 5. His appointment was announced alongside Jeremy Darroch’s, and Darroch officially joined the Board earlier this month.