Disney, assailed by activist investors, launched a new website today called VoteDisney with a video featuring Donald Duck’s uncle and other animated creatures telling shareholders what to do to keep the company’s board of directors intact, and showing them how to do it.
“Friends, relatives and estimated chairman, you’re probably all wondering what we’re doing here today,” said Professor Ludwig Von Drake, the 1961 Disney character, leading into a voiceover that insisted, “We need you to all vote for your board … voting is easy.”
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“Remember it’s important you vote only for Disney’s 12 nominees using the white proxy card. Do not vote for the Trian group or Blackwell’s nominees. Voting this year is critical no matter how many or how few shares you may own … Please vote all of your shares on all of your accounts.”
Trian group founder and CEO, activist investor Nelson Peltz, is going after Disney for real this year, putting himself and former Disney executive Jay Rasulo as alternate directors with a massive PR campaign through a Trian’s created website RestoreTheMagic.com. Peltz, whose campaign is backed Ike Perlmutter, asks Disney shareholders to withhold votes from two Disney directors (Maria Elena Lagomasino and Michael Froman) and vote for himself and Rasulo instead. There number of directors are fixed so seats go to nominees with the greatest number of votes.
Another group called Blackwells Capital is also putting up a slate of three directors (Jessica Schell, Craig Hatkoff and Leah Solivan) but is anti-Peltz and generally more accommodating to Disney management.
The activists will have blue and green proxy cards. Disney’s is white.
“Professor Ludwig, what should the shareholders do with their blue and green proxy car?” asked the voiceover in the animated guide. Shareholders should discard them — “Please do not use the blue or green proxy cards.”
Votes must be submitted by 11:59 pm on April 2, the day before the meeting. “Don’t be late,” the video urged as the March Hare from Alice In Wonderland pointed at his watch.
Disney is reporting its latest quarterly earnings this Wednesday.
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