April 17, 2024

Brighton Journal

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Stocks bounce back after a rocky start to the second quarter

Stocks bounce back after a rocky start to the second quarter

Walt Disney Company (DIS) activist investor Nelson Peltz has fought to replace the company's board of directors for months. Today, investors will find out whether he won or not.

The results of the shareholder vote to choose board members are expected to be announced at the entertainment giant's annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday. Voting has officially closed, but sources told Reuters that enough votes had been cast as of Tuesday evening for Disney to safely defeat Peltz.

Institutional investors Vanguard, BlackRock, and State Street represent Disney's three largest shareholders. According to the Wall Street Journal, BlackRock has voted in favor of the company's current board of directors. Vanguard also voted to support the current board, Reuters reported. The location of State Street remains unknown.

T. Rowe Price, which has a smaller position in Disney, has also backed the company, Yahoo Finance confirmed. “We are comfortable that management has a workable plan to address the important matters facing the company,” a spokesperson for the investment firm said in an email.

It's a critical moment for Disney as the company tries to navigate consumers' shift away from traditional cable packages to mostly unprofitable streaming services. The company also faces succession questions, with CEO Bob Iger's contract set to expire at the end of 2026.

Peltz, who recently secured the backing of influential proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), is seeking board seats for himself and former Disney CFO Jay Rasulo. Peltz's hedge fund Trian Fund Management owns $3 billion worth of Disney common stock, which includes shares owned by former Marvel Entertainment Chairman Ike Perlmutter.

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Peltz aims to replace two current board members: the former CEO of Mastercard Michael Froman And Maria Elena Lagomasino.

Disney, which has received backing from high-profile agent Glass Lewis, defended both Vrooman and Lagomasino, calling the duo “highly valued and participating board members” in a statement to Yahoo Finance.

The company said it was made “Remarkable progress” At the heart of its business. Some of the changes included implementing an ad-supported tier for the Disney+ streaming service, as well as price increases on streaming services, theme parks, and password-sharing campaigns.

Investors reacted positively to the changes, sending Disney shares up about 35% this year.

A shareholder meeting is scheduled for 10am PT/1pm ET this afternoon. In the meantime, catch up on what you need to know here.