Ex-Marvel chair backs Nelson Peltz's push for Disney board seats
Former Marvel chairman Isaac Perlmutter has given Trian Partners full voting power over his outsized Disney shares as the latter's co-founder Nelson Peltz pushes for board seats, Axios has confirmed.
Why it matters: Trian now has four times the number of shares to vote compared to its most recent Disney proxy battle.
Details: Perlmutter, who was laid off earlier this year amid Disney cost-cutting, told the Wall Street Journal last night that he had entrusted his stake to Trian.
- With Perlmutter's shares, Trian increased its stake in Disney to 33 million shares, worth roughly $2.5 billion. Most of that stake is Perlmutter's shares.
- Perlmutter, who sold Marvel to Disney in 2009 for $4 billion, is one of Disney's largest independent shareholders.
- Perlmutter helped Trian's previous proxy campaign by calling directors and helping to set up meetings between Peltz and former Disney CEO Bob Chapek.
The big picture: Trian's forthcoming proxy battle — the nominating window for directors opens in December — will have more teeth this time around.
- The firm will seek board seats for Peltz and at least one more representative, sources familiar with the plan say.
Context: The last time it engaged in a proxy battle, Trian said Disney's streaming strategy lacked cost discipline, and it criticized the firm for over-relying on profits from its parks division to subsidize its streaming costs.
- It also blamed Disney's board and leadership for consistently failing on succession planning.
- Since then, Disney CEO Bob Iger's contract was renewed through 2026 with no successor identified.
- At the same time, Disney is trying to find a strategic partner for ESPN while considering selling some of its assets, including broadcast network ABC.
Catch up quick: There is no love lost between Perlmutter and Iger. When Perlmutter was let go in March, he claimed he was fired.
- "I have no doubt that my termination was based on fundamental differences in business between my thinking and Disney leadership, because I care about return on investment," he told the WSJ then.
- Disney said the move was because Perlmutter's department, in which he ran Marvel's publishing and licensing businesses, had become redundant.