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Disney CEO Bob Iger delays activist investor meeting to sail on yacht

Yahoo Finance Live anchors discuss Bob Iger delaying Disney’s activist investor meeting, plus reports that Nelson Peltz’s Trian Partners is taking a Wendy’s takeover bid off the table.

Video Transcript


JULIE HYMAN: Disney had some drama this week. The company opposed activist investor Nelson Peltz's attempt to join its board. And in the latest development, CEO Bob Iger reportedly was vacationing on a yacht during the holidays and put off a meeting between himself and Peltz because he planned to, quote, "sail off the coast of New Zealand." the life of luxury is where we find "Sozzi's Take." And this is-- Peltz called him out for this, right, Soz?

BRIAN SOZZI: That's good old sleuth reporting there, Julie. It's actually a personal passion of mine to read these activist proxy filings when they occur because this was a really fascinating read trying to file this proxy against Disney yesterday. And just-- it goes through all the accounts of the interactions between Peltz, the general counsel at Disney, Bob Iger, and other executives at the company. It's just really fascinating.

And one thing that stood out to me is December 20, there was a call, and Peltz wanted a meeting with Iger and the board. But Iger informed him that he couldn't do it then because he was getting ready to sail his yacht around New Zealand-- so interesting to see that. With the stock price under pressure, no dividend for the retail investors that have long held or loved Disney-- so still no dividend there. They cut that during the pandemic. And now, under attack from an active investor, you had a returning CEO in Bob Iger going to chill on his yacht around the holidays.

I just ultimately don't think it's a very good look, even for a top executive, for Bob Iger. Nonetheless, that meeting they did end up holding between the board members, Iger, and Peltz later on in January. A source tells me there were no-- there were no questions from Disney board members to Peltz on that virtual meeting, which is very interesting to hear that.

You would think, given Peltz's strong track record, you would get a more engaged Disney board here. But the source tells me that Nelson is gearing up for a fight. And I just think this has all the makings-- big egos, big money, and maybe even a big yacht in the case of Bob Iger-- all the makings of a long, protracted, or just a really ugly activist campaign, not unlike the early days of when Peltz attacked P&G a couple of years ago.

Again, you had a lot of big egos, a lot of big money, very storied brand, and a company that didn't necessarily want change or didn't want to take Peltz seriously. Peltz' track record has been phenomenal for as long as I've covered him. So I think Disney would be wise to at least bring him into that boardroom and listen to what he had to say.

- All right. We can't help but imagine that, I mean, Iger's text might have been something like, I'm on a boat. Can't take the meeting right now. But like you said, not a good look, as we were seeing there in the take a moment ago. Peltz has also been busy, though, with Wendy's, right, Soz?

BRIAN SOZZI: Yeah, busy week here for Nelson Peltz, Brad. So this news hitting this morning-- last year, late last year, Peltz explored a acquisition of Wendy's. Of course, he has been a longtime investor in the company, also the longtime chairman of Wendy's.

He said today that he will not be taking Wendy's. He's not interested in doing a deal for Wendy's, that off the table. But Wendy's is coming out here with a dividend raise and a promise to cut back on expenses. Now, Wendy's has pushed very aggressively into the breakfast daypart. So maybe some of that could bring some of those expenses down now that launch is pretty much done with. But, again, Peltz will not be buying Wendy's.