ValueAct, Blackwells set to back Disney in proxy battle with Peltz

(Reuters) -Activist hedge funds ValueAct Capital and Blackwells Capital moved on Wednesday to provide backing to Walt Disney as the 100-year-old media company defends itself against a board challenge from Nelson Peltz’s Trian Fund Management.

The latest development comes after Peltz nominated himself and former Disney executive James “Jay” Rasulo to the board of the company in December.

Here is what happened since Iger retired in 2020 and after his return as CEO in 2022:

Date Event

Feb. 25, Iger retires after 15 years as CEO, handing the

2020 reins to Disney Parks head Bob Chapek; Iger

assumes post of executive chairman

Sept. 29, Disney says it will lay off about 28,000 parks

2020 unit employees due to coronavirus hit

Oct. 7, Activist investor Daniel Loeb urges Disney to

2020 forgo paying a dividend and use the cash to

make and buy more programming for Disney+

Oct. 12, Disney restructures its media and entertainment

2020 businesses to accelerate Disney+ growth

Feb. 28, Disney pauses film releases in Russia over

2022 Ukraine invasion

March 4, Disney says it will offer a cheaper,

2022 ad-supported version of Disney+

March 10, Disney pauses all business in Russia


May 16, Third Point liquidates its position in Disney

2022 during the first quarter, two years after the

hedge fund first invested and began urging the

media company to spend more aggressively on its

streaming platform

May 16, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says he wants the

2022 state to take control of Disney’s special

district when it is scheduled to be dissolved

in June 2023

June 9, Chief Executive Bob Chapek announces a major

2022 leadership shift, promoting Dana Walden to

chairman of general entertainment content

June 28, Disney board unanimously votes to extend Chief

2022 Executive Officer Bob Chapek’s contract for

three years

Aug. 15, Third Point discloses a stake of roughly $1

2022 billion and said it plans to push the media

company to make a string of changes

Sept. 11, Third Point’s Daniel Loeb backs off from

2022 pushing Walt Disney Co to spin off ESPN

Sept. 14, Comcast Corp Chief Executive Brian Roberts

2022 signals to Disney the company will seek market

value for its minority stake in Hulu

Sept. 30, Disney announces a truce with activist investor

2022 Third Point, saying it will appoint tech and

media veteran Carolyn Everson to the board

Nov. 8, Disney reports higher streaming customers, but

2022 high costs disappoint investors

Nov. 11, The company plans to freeze hiring and cut some

2022 jobs, according to a memo seen by Reuters

Nov. 21, Bob Iger returns to Disney as chief executive

2022 less than a year after he retired, in a

surprise comeback

Nov. 28, Iger says one of his top priorities was to make

2022 the company’s streaming business profitable

Dec. 8, The ad-supported version of the Disney+ service

2022 launches, attracting major advertisers from

different sectors

Jan. 12, Activist investor Nelson Peltz formally

2023 launches a battle for a board seat at Disney

Jan. 17, In a letter to shareholders, Disney defends its

2023 board for denying Peltz a seat, saying he

“lacks the skills and experience” to help the


Feb. 8, Disney announces a restructuring, 7,000 job

2023 cuts, as part of its efforts to save $5.5

billion in costs and make its streaming

business profitable

Feb. 9, Peltz declares that his proxy fight is over


March 27, Disney begins 7,000 layoffs as it seeks to

2023 control costs and create a more “streamlined”

business, according to a letter Iger sent to

employees, seen by Reuters

May 15, Trian adds to its stake in Disney by purchasing

2023 roughly 500,000 more shares since the end of

March, giving it a total of 6.4 million

Oct. 9, Peltz is expected to ask Disney for “multiple”

2023 board seats, including one for himself,

according to a person familiar with the matter

Nov. 15, ValueAct has built a large stake in Disney and

2023 sees room for the entertainment giant’s stock

price to roughly double, sources familiar with

the investment firm’s thinking said.

Nov. 28, Iger tells employees he faced a “myriad of

2023 challenges” upon returning to the company, but

remained upbeat about its prospects

Nov. 30, Peltz pushes ahead with plans to seek at least

2023 three board seats at Disney as Trian is not

satisfied with Iger’s changes, several people

familiar with the matter say

Dec 14, Disney braces for a bitter proxy battle as

2023 Peltz nominates himself and former Disney Chief

Financial Officer James “Jay” Rasulo to the

company’s board

Jan. 3, Activist hedge funds ValueAct and Blackwells

2024 moved to provide backing to Disney as it

defends itself against a board challenge from

activist investor Trian Fund Management.

(Reporting by Akash Sriram, Tiyashi Datta, Jaspreet Singh and Samrhitha Arunasalam in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Pooja Desai and Shounak Dasgupta)