Disney activist Blackwells proposes splitting up company in proxy fight

by user

Activist investor Blackwells Capital has a solution for Walt Disney Co. and its chief executive Bob Iger to rev up sales: Split the company into three separate focused entities — sports, entertainment, and resorts.

“Disney may simply be too complex for any one successor to Mr. Iger to manage holistically, and Blackwells believes that it is the responsibility of the Board to oversee these types of analyses in the ordinary course,” the investment firm said Tuesday in a proxy statement for Disney’s

annual meeting on April 3.

Blackwells floated the idea of Disney separating its owned real estate, which it says represent about 44% of its market cap, at cost, “into an independent publicly listed REIT or a series of investment vehicles in which the shares, cash and/or interests could be distributed to shareholders.”

Disney, which is scheduled to announce fiscal first-quarter results on Wednesday, is locked in a three-way battle over the makeup of its 12-member board of directors. It has proposed a dozen candidates, while Blackwells is urging Disney shareholders to vote for its own three candidates instead of Disney’s or Trian Partners’ Nelson Peltz and Jay Rasulo, an ex-Disney chief financial officer.

“The purpose of our campaign is simple: we want to ensure that Disney has the right collection of minds around the boardroom table, working constructively together to make decisions that will benefit ALL shareholders for decades to come,” Blackwells said in its statement.

Disney was not immediately available for comment.

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