Walt Disney (DIS) Gains Upper Hand in Proxy Battle Against Trian Partners

By Patricia Miller


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Walt Disney is currently leading its proxy battle against Trian Partners, supported by BlackRock and T. Rowe Price, despite ongoing voting. Disney, under CEO Bob Iger, campaigns against Peltz's bid, criticizing his potential impact.

Walt Disney Logo on White Smartphone with green stock chart in background.
Disney Leads in Proxy War with Trian Amid Ongoing Votes

What You Need To Know

Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS) is gaining an advantage in its proxy battle against Trian Partners, with more than half of all shares voted in its favor. BlackRock, the second-largest shareholder, is among the major investors supporting Disney. T. Rowe Price also plans to back Disney in the battle. However, the outcome is not certain as investors are still casting votes and can change them before the annual meeting on Wednesday.

Trian is seeking board seats for Nelson Peltz and former Disney finance chief Jay Rasulo. Peltz was leading the race days ago but has since fallen behind. The hedge fund has support from investors like Neuberger Berman and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. The proxy battle between the two sides is expected to be the most expensive ever, and other activist investors like Blackwells Capital are also vying for board seats.

Disney's CEO Bob Iger and his team have been campaigning against Peltz's bid, arguing that it would be disruptive. Peltz and his team claim that Disney's board has not delivered strong returns and mishandled the CEO succession process. Both major shareholder-advisory firms have split their recommendations. The fate of the proxy battle lies with a few large shareholders, including Vanguard, BlackRock, and State Street.

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Why This Is Important for Retail Investors

  1. Potential Impact on Share Value: The outcome of the proxy battle between Walt Disney and Trian Partners could have a significant impact on the value of Disney shares. Retail investors who hold shares in Disney may experience fluctuations in their DIS investment depending on the final result.

  2. Board Composition and Leadership: The battle over board seats at Disney highlights the importance of corporate governance and leadership in a company. Investors have a stake in ensuring that the board of directors is composed of individuals who can effectively oversee the company's strategic direction and protect shareholder interests.

  3. Influence on Company Strategy: The proxy battle brings to light differences in opinion regarding Disney's strategic direction and decision-making. The outcome may shape the company's future initiatives, investments, and business focus, potentially impacting retail investors by influencing the company's performance and growth prospects.

  4. Shareholder Activism Dynamics: The proxy fight underscores the growing presence of shareholder activism in the corporate landscape. Retail investors can observe the tactics and strategies employed by activist investors like Trian Partners, gaining insights into how such actions can impact the companies in which they have invested.

  5. Proxy Voting Process: The proxy battle emphasizes the significance of proxy voting as a means for retail investors to exercise their voting rights and influence corporate decisions. It highlights the importance of carefully considering proposals, evaluating the arguments put forth by different parties, and participating in the voting process to shape the outcome that aligns with their investment preferences and goals.

How Can You Use This Information?

Here are some of the investing ideas that can be explored using this information:

Dividend Investing

Retail investors interested in dividend income may consider the impact of the proxy battle on Disney's dividend policy. The outcome could affect the stability and potential growth of dividends for shareholders seeking income investments.

Dividend investing targets companies that regularly distribute a portion of their earnings to shareholders as dividends.

Defensive investing

The proxy battle outcome could influence the perceived stability and resilience of DIS stock as a defensive investment option. Retail investors may analyze the company's ability to weather disruptions and maintain long-term value, especially in uncertain market conditions.

Defensive Investing focuses on securing a portfolio by choosing companies that are less sensitive to economic downturns.

Event-Driven Strategy

This information presents an opportunity for event-driven investors to strategize based on the outcome of the proxy battle. They may anticipate and position themselves for potential market reactions or trading opportunities resulting from the final decision.

An event-driven strategy capitalizes on stock mispricing that may occur before or after a corporate event, such as a merger or acquisition.

Contrarian Investing

A contrarian investor could explore the proxy battle outcome as a potential opportunity to take a position contrary to prevailing market sentiment. They may evaluate whether negative sentiment surrounding the proxy battle has created an undervalued buying opportunity in Disney's stock.

Contrarian investing involves taking positions against prevailing market trends on the belief that the crowd is wrong.

Read What Others Are Saying

Reuters: Norges Bank Investment Management backs Disney in board room fight with hedge funds

The Guardian: Disney faces showdown with critics amid calls for strategy shakeup

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What you should read next:

Popular ETFs

Some investors prefer to invest in stocks via an exchange-traded fund for ease and reduced risk. Some popular ETFs include the following:

  • Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLY): This ETF offers exposure to companies in the consumer discretionary sector, including media and entertainment giants like Disney. It's suitable for investors looking to tap into consumer spending trends.

  • Vanguard Communication Services ETF (VOX): This ETF targets the communication services sector and includes companies in telecommunications, media, and internet services. Disney, a significant player in media and entertainment, is often included in this ETF's holdings.

  • iShares Global Comm Services ETF (IXP): For a more global perspective, this ETF provides exposure to worldwide communication services companies, including those in the media and entertainment industries. It allows investors to diversify internationally, with Disney as one of the represented companies.

  • VanEck Vectors Media and Entertainment ETF (MESG): This ETF focuses on the media and entertainment sector, offering direct exposure to companies that produce content, distribute, and provide entertainment. It's a targeted approach for investors interested in the media and entertainment industry dynamics.

  • Fidelity MSCI Communication Services Index ETF (FCOM): Tracking the MSCI USA IMI Communication Services 25/50 Index, this ETF includes companies from the communication services sector, covering both traditional and new media, with Disney being a significant holding.

Explore more on these topics:



This article does not provide any financial advice and is not a recommendation to deal in any securities or product. Investments may fall in value and an investor may lose some or all of their investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance.

Patricia Miller does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the above article.

Patricia Miller has not been paid to produce this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

Digitonic Ltd, the owner of ValueTheMarkets.com, does not hold a position or positions in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the above article.

Digitonic Ltd, the owner of ValueTheMarkets.com, has not been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

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