Home News Disney, Iger Get Backing of JPMorgan’s Dimon in Proxy Fight With Peltz

Disney, Iger Get Backing of JPMorgan’s Dimon in Proxy Fight With Peltz

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Key Takeaways

  • JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon on Wednesday chimed in on Disney’s battle with activist investor Nelson Peltz, calling Disney CEO Bob Iger “a first-class executive and outstanding leader.”
  • Peltz’s firm Trian Fund Management has nominated Peltz and former Disney chief financial officer Jay Rasulo to the company’s board in its second proxy battle with the entertainment giant in a little over a year.
  • In an appeal to shareholders, Disney on Monday attacked Peltz’s record and alleged his efforts to join the board were motivated by vanity.

Walt Disney Co. (DIS) shares gained ground Wednesday after JPMorgan Chase (JPM) Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon endorsed Disney CEO Bob Iger in his fight with activist investor Nelson Peltz. 

“Bob is a first-class executive and outstanding leader,” Dimon told CNBC’s David Faber. “He knows the media and entertainment business cold and has the successful track record to prove it.”

“Putting people on a Board unnecessarily can harm a company,” Dimon added. “I don’t know why shareholders would take that risk, especially given the significant progress the company has made since Bob came back.”

Disney has been at war with Peltz and his fund Trian Management for more than a year. Peltz launched his first proxy battle with the company in Jan. 2023, just months after Iger returned to the helm after a brief retirement. He dropped his fight for a board seat the next month when Disney announced $5.5 billion in cost cuts

The cuts have proven insufficient for Peltz. He relaunched his efforts last December when he nominated himself and former Disney Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jay Rasulo to the board. In a white paper published earlier this month, Peltz laid out his plans for the company, which include restructuring the board, altering performance-based compensation plans, and developing a streaming strategy that will achieve “Netflix-like margins of 15-20% by 2027.”

Disney responded on Monday with a video claiming Peltz’s board fight was motivated by vanity, and his election would jeopardize the business’s success.

“Nelson Peltz has a long history of attacking companies to the ultimate detriment of shareholder value,” the video said.

Disney shareholders will elect nominees to the company’s board of directors at its annual shareholder meeting on April 3.

Disney shares were up 0.5% to $113.04 as of 1:15 p.m. ET Wednesday. They have gained about 25% so far this year, with much of that gain coming after a better-than-expected earnings report in early February.

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