Activist Investor Dan Loeb and Disney Agree to a Standstill
Activist investor Dan Loeb and Disney have agreed to a standstill. While Loeb has been a frequent critic of Disney’s business practices, he has also been a frequent target of the company. Most recently, Loeb and Sony Corp. got into a public rift over the company’s decision to sell off entertainment holdings. In that conflict, Loeb was even joined by George Clooney. Other targets have included Nestle and Sotheby’s. Meanwhile, Everson was most recently the president of Meta and Instacart, two companies that were targeted by Loeb.
Carolyn Everson joins Disney board
Carolyn Everson has joined the board of directors at Disney, bringing a diverse background and expertise in digital media and advertising. She previously held roles at Facebook, Viacom and Microsoft. Everson is expected to begin in her new role in November. Everson was an important addition to Disney’s board, as the company is poised to expand its digital advertising business.
Everson, a former executive at Facebook, Instacart and Google, will be a valuable asset to the company, which is trying to attract tech-savvy consumers. The move comes after a long and complex search process for a new Disney board member, and it signals a continued commitment by Disney to maintain a strong independent board. Everson’s nomination was supported by activist investor Third Point LLC, which has a stake of over $1 billion in the company.
Activist investor Dan Loeb agrees to a standstill
In an effort to avoid an upcoming proxy battle, activist investor Dan Loeb and Disney have reached a deal. Loeb’s Third Point LLC has agreed to a standstill on shareholder proposals through Disney’s 2024 annual meeting. The agreement also limits Loeb and Third Point’s ability to acquire more than 2% of the company’s shares. The deal will prevent Third Point from trying to install new board members and to propose shareholder resolutions that would change the company’s policies.
Loeb and Disney have had a long-standing relationship. They have frequently communicated about various demands and plans. During the past year, Loeb supported Disney’s decision to cut the budget of ESPN, but he has other requests. He also wants the company to cut its administrative costs and purchase Comcast’s stake in Hulu.
Everson’s exit from Facebook
Aside from her work at Facebook and Viacom, activist investor Carolyn Everson will be joining the Walt Disney Co.’s board of directors in November. The deal, announced in an SEC filing, does not include a proposal to replace other board members. Additionally, Everson’s support does not include any shareholder proposals or the acquisition of more than 2% of the company’s shares. Everson previously served on the board of directors at the Coca-Cola Co. and the Creative Artists Agency.
After a stint as the president of Instacart, Everson has also worked in senior leadership roles at Facebook. He previously served as VP of Global Business Group at the company and led its marketing solutions team. He also serves on boards at Columbia Medical School and the Humane Society. Moreover, he has been involved with many other companies over the years.
ESPN’s potential as a standalone business
Activist investor Dan Loeb recently urged Disney to spin off ESPN in order to unlock shareholder value. However, he later backed away from his comments after he bought a large stake in Disney. Loeb also made comments in a tweet.
Until recently, ESPN was a crown jewel in Disney’s media empire. However, the streaming revolution and cord-cutting have hurt the company’s ad revenue. While this is a short-term issue, Disney still sees the value of the ad revenue ESPN generates. By selling the business, it will reduce Disney’s debt.