Disney wins battle against activist investors in proxy fight

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Disney has come out of its proxy fight with activist investors victorious.

The entertainment giant, helmed by CEO Bob Iger, said Wednesday afternoon that a preliminary tally showed its 12 board nominees won reelection.

That result came at a “substantial margin” over the totals respectively cast for Trian Group and Blackwells Capital, two entities that separately launched proxy fights against Disney, the company said.

Trian had put forward Nelson Peltz and former Disney CFO Jay Rasolu as its board nominees, arguing they should take the places of Disney’s Michael Froman and Maria Lagomasino. Meanwhile, investment firm Blackwells has proposed three candidates – Jessica Schell, Craig Hatkoff and Leah Solivan – as additions to the entertainment giant’s board to fill gaps it perceived.

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The proxy fight between Disney and Trian and Peltz had been particularly heated in the weeks leading up to the annual shareholder meetings where the results of the board vote were announced.

Trian claimed Disney “has lost its way in the past decade” and experienced “chronic underperformance” financially for shareholders.

It also accused the board of “questionable strategic and capital allocation decisions, poor executive compensation alignment and suboptimal succession planning” for Iger’s eventual replacement. It had also flagged things like box office performance and linear TV.

Countering Trian’s claims, Disney argued it “aggressively executed our key strategic priorities to make Disney’s business more efficient and effective, reinvigorated our creative engines, and sharpened our focus on our greatest brand and franchise assets.”

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Legendary filmmaker George Lucas and others, including Disney family members and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, have stood by Disney and Iger in recent weeks.

This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.


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