Nelson Peltz says Disney proxy fight ‘over’ after Iger unveils restructuring plans


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Nelson Peltz’s Trian Fund Management is ending its proxy war with Disney after the company confirmed plans for a major internal restructuring, the famed activist investor revealed on Thursday.

Peltz confirmed an end to his clash with the Mouse House’s board of directors after CEO Bob Iger announced a sweeping initiative to shave $5.5 billion in costs and slash 7,000 jobs.

“This was a great win for all the shareholders,” Peltz said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”

“Management at Disney now plans to do everything that we wanted them to do. We wish the very best to Bob [Iger], this management team and the board. We will be watching. We will be rooting and the proxy fight is over,” Peltz added.

Disney shares jumped about 3.5% higher in early trading on Thursday.

Disney will also reorganize its business into three segments – one focused on film, television and streaming assets, one on the sports media giant ESPN and one on the company’s theme parks and experiences.

Iger said the reordering would result in a “more cost-effective, coordinated approach to our operations.” It also addressed some of the concerns expressed by Peltz, who had accused Disney of spending too much money on its streaming services.

Iger unveiled the restructuring plans Wednesday as Disney topped Wall Street’s earnings expectations in the first quarter. The company reported adjusted earnings per share of 99 cents, ahead of the 78 cents expected by analysts.

Nelson Peltz’s firm had sought a seat on Disney’s board of directors.

Peltz’s Trian, which holds less than a 5% stake in Disney worth roughly $1 billion, had launched a proxy fight last month and demanded that he receive a seat on the company’s board of directors.

Aside from his criticism of Disney’s spending on streaming, Peltz argued that the company had overspent in its acquisition of 21st Century Fox and said the company had messed up its succession planning when Iger first stepped down as CEO in 2020.

Bob Iger
Disney CEO Bob Iger has pledged to bring the company back to profitability.

“Shareholders need someone in the boardroom who is experienced enough, committed enough and objective enough to insist that Disney live up to its full potential,” Trian said in a letter to shareholders.

The dispute began just weeks after Iger, 71, ousted his successor Bob Chapek and returned as Disney’s CEO with mandate to reverse the company’s recent stock slump.

Disney is set to undergo a major corporate restructuring.

Disney slammed the proxy initiative in a letter to shareholders at the time, asserting that Peltz “has demonstrated that he does not understand Disney’s businesses.”

With Post wires

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