On Tuesday, Walt Disney aggressively defended CEO Robert Iger’s history on the job from renegade Disney investor Nelson Peltz. In a securities filing, Disney had criticisms of its own, stating that Peltz “does not understand Disney’s businesses and lacks the skills and experience to assist the board in delivering shareholder value in a rapidly shifting media ecosystem.”
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As the New York Times reports, Peltz launched a “proxy battle” last week to take a seat on Disney’s board. He called the House the Mouse built “a company in crisis” and leveled other criticisms as well, including slamming Disney’s 2019 $71.3 billion buyout of 21st Century Fox.
Here’s more from the NYT on Nelson Peltz’s history as an investor:
Proxy battles are old hat for Mr. Peltz. He has waged successful ones against Procter & Gamble and Heinz. He lost one against DuPont. Disney has not faced a sustained shareholder battle since 2004, when Roy E. Disney, a nephew of Walt Disney, led a successful drive to oust Michael D. Eisner as Disney’s chief executive.
Disney, needless to say, is resisting Peltz’s efforts. In addition to stating that Peltz doesn’t understand its business, Disney also said he had “no strategy, no operating initiatives, no new ideas and no plan” for what might happen should he make it to the board.
The Times reports that Peltz has stated that Disney’s streaming business needs an overhaul, and the company needs to “refocus” on growing profits. But Disney stated in its securities filing that most of those measures are already in place.
The contentiousness between Peltz and Disney could grow worse. The Times noted that a unanimous vote already denied Peltz a seat on the board on January 10. In defending the decision, Disney’s board pointed out that Peltz lacked the necessary “media or technology industry experience.”