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Vanguard, Disney’s largest shareholder, reportedly supports management against Peltz in board fight

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Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, speaks during the grand opening ceremony of Shanghai Disney Resort’s Zootopia-themed attraction at Shanghai Disney Resort on December 19, 2023 in Shanghai, China.

Visual Group China | Getty Images

Disney The largest shareholder, index fund manager Vanguard, plans to support Nelson Peltz’s Trian Partners management in Wednesday’s board vote, Bloomberg News reported Tuesday, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.

Institutional shareholders have until Wednesday to change their vote. Vanguard owns 7.8% of Disney stock. black rockDisney’s second-largest shareholder with 4.2% of shares, also supports current board and CEO Bob Iger, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Reports about how Disney’s largest shareholders are expected to vote drew harsh criticism Tuesday night from former activist investor Bill Ackman.

“Only the company and its advisors have access to the shareholder vote prior to the day of the annual meeting,” Ackman said. wrote on the social media platform

Disney shareholders should support Peltz’s efforts, Ackman wrote, both because he would make “a significant addition” to Disney and because the media leaks, which Ackman said came from Disney or its advisers, raised the question of why management was “fighting so hard to keep Disney.” remove it.”

It would be a major blow to Peltz’s ambitions to join Disney’s board if BlackRock and Vanguard decide to support the media company’s nominees. This would leave as unknown only State Street and Geode Capital Management, respectively third and fourth shareholders of the company.

Through an agreement with former Marvel chairman Ike Perlmutter, Trian controls 1.8% of Disney’s stock, making it the fifth largest shareholder. Retail investors have until 11:59 p.m. ET Tuesday to submit their vote by phone or online.

Trian has gained support from other smaller shareholders, including Neuberger Berman and CalPERS. For its part, Disney has brought in some of the most prominent names in business and media, including JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and Star Wars creator George Lucas.

Disney’s shareholder meeting begins Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET.

Vanguard declined to comment to CNBC.

Read the full Bloomberg report here.

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