News Entertainment Disney Proxy Battle: Second Advisory Firm Supports Nelson Peltz
The Walt Disney Company

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Disney Proxy Battle: Second Advisory Firm Supports Activist Nelson Peltz

By Dade Hayes | March 27, 2024 | 5:50am

Proxy advisor Egan-Jones has become the second independent firm to endorse activist Nelson Peltz's campaign to secure seats on the Disney board. This follows the earlier support from ISS, a notable win for Peltz's Trian Fund Management, given ISS's influential position as the largest advisory firm.

Backing Both Peltz and Jay Rasulo

Egan-Jones not only supports billionaire activist investor Nelson Peltz but also former Disney executive Jay Rasulo, Trian's other nominee for the Disney board. The firm recommends shareholders withhold support for Maria Elena Lagomasino and Michael B.G. Froman, who are part of Disney's slate of nominees.

Challenges Faced by Disney

Egan-Jones highlights several concerns with Disney's current board:

  • An "apparent lack" of a long-term succession plan.
  • A board that "appears cut off and unwilling to engage with investors and the broader market."
  • A business model built for the last decade but lacking forward-looking flexibility for future success.
  • A desire to protect the status quo at all costs.

Trian began agitating last year after Disney shares hit a multi-year low, though they have since rebounded. Along with succession planning, Trian has criticized Disney's film strategy. This opposition movement represents the most significant challenge faced by Disney since 2004 when Michael Eisner lost his chairman title.

Despite Disney's repeated pushback against Peltz, citing his lack of media business experience, the 81-year-old investor has a track record of successful proxy battles. Proxy advisory firm Glass Lewis, another leading firm, previously supported Disney's board nominees.

Disney's current CEO, Bob Chapek, has faced turmoil during his tenure, leading to the return of former CEO Bob Iger in November 2022.

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