In a move to fortify its strategic posture, The Walt Disney Company DIS has brought onboard investment firm ValueAct Capital. The firm will provide strategic counsel and bolster Disney’s director nominees in preparation for the 2024 annual shareholder meeting.
What Happened: Reuters reported that Disney inked a deal with San Francisco’s ValueAct Capital on Wednesday. ValueAct, recognized for its cooperative approach, is perceived as a boon for Disney as it readies for a likely proxy showdown with another activist investor, Nelson Peltz.
Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, voiced his trust in ValueAct, applauding the firm’s track record of positive collaboration with its investment portfolios. He noted the productive discussions he has had with co-CEO Mason Morfit over the past year.
The announcement follows a year of major business restructuring by Iger, who contended with demands from Peltz’s Trian Fund Management. Peltz, having nominated himself and a supporter to Disney’s board, advocates for cost reduction, succession planning, and a revamp of Disney’s underperforming streaming operations.
Insiders told Reuters that ValueAct has maintained communication with Disney management for over a decade and predicts a potential doubling of Disney’s stock price.
Why It Matters: The involvement of ValueAct Capital in Disney’s strategic planning process is significant, given the firm’s history of building a stake in the company. In November 2023, ValueAct Capital began acquiring Disney shares during the Hollywood strikes in the summer of 2023 and has since become one of the largest stakeholders. This partnership could potentially provide Disney with the strategic backup it needs to navigate the anticipated proxy battle and address the demands of activist investors.
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