On Tuesday, Walt Disney aggressively defended CEO Robert Iger’s history while working for renegade Disney investor Nelson Peltz. In a securities filing, Disney had his own criticism, stating that Peltz “does not understand Disney’s businesses and lacks the skills and experience to help the board deliver shareholder value in a rapidly changing media ecosystem.”
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 also issued other criticisms, including rejecting Disney’s $71.3 billion 2019 buyout of 21st Century Fox.
Here’s more from the NYT on Nelson Peltz’s history as an investor:
Proxy battles are old hat to Mr. Peltz. He has had successful matches against Procter & Gamble and Heinz. He lost one to DuPont. Disney hasn’t had a long-running shareholder battle since 2004, when Roy E. Disney, a cousin of Walt Disney, led a successful effort to oust Michael D. Eisner as Disney’s CEO.
Disney, of course, opposes Peltz’s efforts. In addition to Peltz not understanding his business, Disney also said he had “no strategy, no operational initiatives, no new ideas, and no plan” for what might happen if he made it to the board.
The Time reports that Peltz has stated that Disney’s streaming business needs an overhaul and that 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 controversy between Peltz and Disney could get worse. The Time noted that a unanimous vote had already denied Peltz a seat on the board on January 10. In defending the decision, the Disney board pointed out that Peltz lacked the necessary “experience in the media or technology industry”.