Nelson Peltz Lost Disney Fight But Claims $1 Billion In Stock Gains

Activist investor Nelson Peltz, reflecting on his losing proxy battle with Disney, says he will “watch and wait” to see if the company keeps its promises.

If it doesn’t, he told CNBC in an interview Thursday, “you’ll see me again.”

Asked by host Jim Cramer if reports were true that his firm, Trian Fund Management, had made $300 million on its Disney investment, Peltz called that figure “dramatically wrong.” When Cramer wondered if the gains were actually in the $1 billion range, Peltz replied, “that sounds more like it.”

The wavering performance of Disney’s stock performance, which brought it to multi-year lows last year, was one of the main complaints of Trian, along with the company’s approach to succession, streaming and film production. Since the proxy effort began, shares have rebounded strongly, climbing more than 35% in 2024 to date.

Trian’s months-long quest to install Peltz and former Disney CFO Jay Rasulo on the company’s board of directors met with defeat Wednesday at the company’s annual shareholder meeting. Earlier on CNBC, Disney CEO Bob Iger had struck a largely constructive tone, saying the expensive battle had ended up bringing the company into closer touch with its shareholders.

As one of those shareholders (Trian, in alignment with ex-Marvel chairman Ike Perlmutter, controls about $3.5 billion in Disney stock), Peltz is hoping for only positive takeaways from the bruising proxy fight.

“I hope Bob can keep his promises,” the investor said. “I hope they can do all the things they assured us they were going to do. And we’ll only watch and wait. If they do it, they won’t hear from me again.” If they don’t, he said, he could mount a Round 3 of his Disney campaign in 2025. Trian rattled cages soon after Iger returned as CEO in 2022 before ultimately pulling back the following February. The latest bid to shake up the board began several months prior to Wednesday’s vote, which showed about 31% of shareholders supporting Peltz.

“The shareholders have voted,” Peltz said. “They want to give management and the board a chance. So so be it. We will watch like we did last time. We pulled out a year ago February. A lot of promises were made. We hoped that they were going to keep them. They didn’t, we came back. We’ve got a new set of promises, and I hope they keep them and if they if they do, I’ll be a guest on the other show probably talking about a different company. But if they don’t, you’ll see me again.”


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