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Bob Iger, Nelson Peltz React To Board Vote

Scoring a big and costly win this morning against Nelson Peltz’s second attempt to get on the Disney board, Bob Iger was both gracious and a little biting in victory.

Once the results were announced in the big bucks corporate battle, the past and present CEO address the virtual meeting to thank “shareholders for your trust and confidence in the Disney board and management and the ambitious strategy we’re implementing across our businesses to build for the future.”

Of course, having had to fend off a direct challenge to his leadership from Peltz’s Trian Group and Ike Perlmutter behind the scenes, Iger also took a swing at his vanquished rivals. “Now that this distracting proxy contest is behind us, we’re here to focus 100% of our attention on our most important priorities, growth and value creation for our shareholders and creative excellence for our consumers,” the executive added, without ever saying Peltz or Perlmutter or even that other activist investor Blackwells.

Thank you again for your support and for your continued investment in this company, he said before taking questions from shareholders on such matters as more Taylor Swift concert movies, political stances and theme parks expansions.

Including Iger, Disney’s 12-member slate received the overwhelming votes of shareholders, with nearly 75% of retail shareholders backing the company, we hear. On the specifics, after all the millions spent, Peltz got 31% of the vote. The Wendy’s chairman came up short to Disney slate nominee and company director Maria Elena Lagomasino by a hard two to one margin.

Bob Iger received 94% of the vote to keep him on the Mark Parker-headed board.

Jay Rasulo and Nelson Peltz

Owning around $3.5 billion worth of Mouse House stock, some of which they sold not to long ago, neither Peltz not former Disney CFO Jay Rasulo got much traction with their fellow shareholders. Still, Peltz’s Trian tried to have it both ways with their response to their big loss Wednesday.

“While we are disappointed with the outcome of this proxy contest, Trian greatly appreciates all of the support and dialogue we have had with Disney stakeholders. We are proud of the impact we have had in refocusing this Company on value creation and good governance. Since we re-engaged with the Company in late 2023, Disney has announced a host of new operating initiatives and capital improvement plans. The Board has been refreshed with two new directors. Over the last six months, Disney’s stock is up approximately 50% and is the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s best performer year-to-date.

We thank Trian’s investors for the confidence they have placed in our efforts. And, we wish the best for all of the Company’s stakeholders, including Disney’s Board and management team. We will be watching the Company’s performance and be focusing on its continued success.”

Fighting both Team Iger and Trian, Blackwells also declared a victory of sorts:

Blackwells’ primary objective was achieved – keeping Nelson Peltz out of the Disney Boardroom. The company would have benefited from any one of our candidates for the hard work needed over the next few years to advance this iconic company, but we respect the will of the shareholders and the outcome. Disney, for its part, showed that it needs to be more focused on transparency and truly acting in the best interests of all its shareholders.  In particular, the Board’s ongoing refusal to publicize the information sharing agreement with ValueAct, as well as all the fees paid by Disney to ValueAct before its endorsement of the Board, remains a serious issue.  We will continue to pursue our litigation to ensure there is a resolution that benefits shareholders and enforces governance best practices.

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