Nelson Peltz declares victory of sorts after getting rejected by Disney shareholders, citing 50% stock boost since start of activist campaign


Disney shareholders sided with longtime CEO Robert Iger, voting Wednesday to censure investor Nelson Peltz and his partner, former Disney Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo, who sought seats at the company.

The company recommended directors that did not include Peltz or Rasulo.

The shareholders said in a filing that they want to complete a “positive CEO transition” at Disney and align executive pay with performance. Although he lost, he declared the victory of his brand after the vote, noting that since Peltz’s company, Trian Partners, began to push Disney at the end of 2023, the entertainment giant has done a lot, adding new directors and announcing new ways of working. plans to improve the investment of its parks.

“Over the past six months, Disney’s stock has risen nearly 50% and is the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s year-to-date best performer,” Trian said in a statement. Shares of Walt Disney Co., based in Burbank, California, were down about 3.4% in Wednesday afternoon trading.

The activist group has previously said it wants to see Disney achieve a “Netflix-like” financial performance, specifically citing a 2027 target for Disney to raise its so-called EBIDTA – earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization – to 15% to 20%.

But Disney is already working on the same scale. In the quarter that ended in December 2023, Disney’s EBIDTA margin was 18%, according to data compiled by CapitalIQ. For the last fiscal year that ended in September, Disney’s EBIDTA margin was 16.5%, according to the same report.

Disney announced in November 2022 that Iger will return to the company as CEO to replace his hand-picked successor, Bob Chapek, who over a two-year period has been plagued by controversy, mismanagement and financial inefficiency.

Iger spent 15 years on the Disney team as CEO before handing over the job to Chapek in 2020, where Iger created a series of achievements that are appreciated in entertainment and by Disney fans. But his second go at the job did not earn him the same respect.

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