Disney Shareholders Block Attempted Takeover by Activist Investor

On Wednesday, Disney shareholders voted to reject an attempt by the hedge fund Trian Partners to install two prominent activist investors on the company’s board, in what was widely seen as a challenge to CEO Bob Iger’s leadership and the company’s decision to insert politics into its content.

The Daily Caller reports that Nelson Peltz, one of the two investors who was denied a seat on the board, had previously criticized Disney’s efforts to make their movies and TV shows more “woke,” a sentiment that has been widely shared by audiences. Nevertheless, the company’s leadership has doubled down on its political messaging, denying Peltz and one other member of the Trian Group a seat on the 12-member board.

“With the stock waning and Disney facing another proxy contest, Disney appears to again be trying to distract shareholders with what we see as a fanciful tale, claiming it has ‘turned the corner and entered a new era,’” Trian Partners said in a statement back in February. “And with that, Disney announced a slew of new promises and ideas — most still in the process of being developed — hoping that shareholders would just believe all was well and improving.”

In addition to overt political messaging in its content, Disney has directly supported Democratic candidates, with over $2.8 million being donated to the Democratic Party by company executives in recent years.

Disney has seen increasing financial failures due to audience backlash. A number of Disney films released last year, including “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” “The Marvels,” and the remake of “The Little Mermaid,” among others, all under-performed at the box office, costing the company hundreds of millions of dollars. Many of the latest “Star Wars” releases, including the television shows “Obi-Wan Kenobi” and “Ahsoka” have been flops with audiences, with the entirety of the sequel trilogy of movies being panned by critics and fans of the series alike.

Disney has even acknowledged the possibility of further losses due to political messaging, acknowledging back in November that shareholder profits could be negatively impacted because of the content’s “misalignment” with consumers’ preferences. Nevertheless, the decision by the board to reject Peltz appears to signal that the company is prepared to double down on its current course rather than make significant changes.


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About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

Photo: LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 06: Revellers carry a Disney logo during the Pride in London parade on 06 July, 2019 in London, England. The festival, which this year celebrates 50 years since the Stonewall Uprising, attracts hundreds of thousands of people to the streets of the British capital to celebrate the LGBT+ community. (Photo credit should read Wiktor Szymanowicz/Future Publishing via Getty Images)