According to CNBC’s Activist Spotlight, activist investor ValueAct Capital has built a significant stake in The Walt Disney Company and has talked with Disney management. A source also confirmed the news with Bloomberg.
ValueAct Capital Building Disney Stake
ValueAct, an investment company based in San Francisco, has been building the stake over the summer. ValueAct has held active investments at Salesforce, Microsoft, Adobe, The New York Times, 21st Century Fox, and Spotify, with board seats at the first three.
According to Activist Spotlight, ValueAct “believes that Disney’s theme parks and consumer products businesses and their $10 billion in EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) are alone worth low $80s per share, ValueAct’s approximate cost basis in the stock.”
ValueAct has also assisted other companies with their streaming and subscription services by creating bundles and pricing tiers that have led to higher average revenue per user.
It’s possible ValueAct will push for a seat on Disney’s board. Another one of Disney’s largest shareholders, Trian Fund Management, is also trying to get board seats, including one for their CEO Nelson Peltz. Peltz and Trian previously pushed for him to have a seat on the board after Disney privately turned down his request to join. He launched a public run for the seat in January 2023 but ended the “proxy war” with Disney the next month. Disney CEO Bob Iger recently said of the situation, “I don’t have specifics about what Nelson is really after or what he will ask for.”
The window for shareholder nominations is from December 5, 2023 through January 4, 2024. These nominations would then be voted on at Disney’s annual meeting in the spring.