George Lucas Chooses Sides In Disney Executive Showdown

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Published

george lucas

Legendary filmmaker, Star Wars creator, and Disney shareholder, George Lucas has publicly commented on the contentious proxy battle between The Walt Disney Company and activists Nelson Peltz and Blackwells Capital. Speaking out against the activists, Lucas has declared his alignment with CEO Bob Iger and the company’s board.

Nelson Peltz And Blackwells Capital Vs. Disney

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A proxy battle is a conflict between a company’s management and shareholders over control of the company’s direction, governance, or specific corporate decisions. Peltz and Blackwells Capital have been leading a proxy battle against Disney with the overall goal of enhancing shareholder value and improving the company’s financial performance. They’ve been utilizing strategies such as nominating board members, releasing public statements, and engaging in media campaigns in an attempt to influence the outcome of shareholder votes.

Despite their attempts, there is one shareholder they have not convinced as George Lucas has made it clear he stands with Disney.

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The proxy battle acts similar to a political campaign, and in response to the activists, Disney has released a slickly produced video, akin to a political attack ad, targeting Peltz and Blackwells Capital. The video paints a dire picture of the potential consequences should the activists gain influence on Disney’s board, citing examples of companies allegedly suffering under Peltz’s influence. It also takes personal aim at Peltz and Blackwells Capital, with points George Lucas agrees with, questioning their motives and qualifications for Disney board membership.

Magic Making

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“Creating magic is not for amateurs,” George Lucas said, making his stance with Disney clear. “When I sold Lucasfilm just over a decade ago, I was delighted to become a Disney shareholder because of my long-time admiration for its iconic brand and Bob Iger’s leadership. When Bob recently returned to the company during a difficult time, I was relieved.

“No one knows Disney better. I remain a significant shareholder because I have full faith and confidence in the power of Disney and Bob’s track record of driving long-term value. I have voted all of my shares for Disney’s 12 directors and urge other shareholders to do the same.”

Peltz Hasn’t Won Enough Support

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Peltz is a veteran of proxy battles, and this is the second campaign he’s launched against Disney–Blackwells Capital joining his side this time around army. The activists’ efforts have been met with staunch resistance from Disney, which has framed them as disruptive and destructive forces, seeking to divert attention from the company’s purportedly poor performance.

But the activists are struggling to gain the support of other Disney shareholders. George Lucas is the most recent high-profile name to comment in support of Disney. His statement joins similar statements of support from the family of Walt and Roy Disney, as well as the recommendation from shareholder services firm Glass Lewis to support the board.

Marvel’s Former Owner Is On Board

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However, the activists have gained the support of Ike Perlmutter, a major Disney shareholder and former Disney executive, who sold Marvel to Disney in 2009 for $4 billion. While it’s not known exactly how much stock Perlmutter has, it’s likely around the same as Lucas. George Lucas acquired approximately $1.8 billion in Disney stock when he sold Lucasfilm to the corporation.

As the legal battle continues to simmer, with the help of George Lucas, Disney continues to aggressively push back against the activists, portraying them as more self-interested rather than aligned with the interests of Disney and its shareholders.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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