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Nelson Peltz's Disney proxy fight may hinge on the same investors who doomed his DuPont battle nearly a decade ago

Nelson Peltz
Activist investor, Nelson Peltz.

Reuters

  • Three major Disney investors have a history with Nelson Peltz's proxy fights.
  • BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street voted against Peltz's firm Trian Partners in a 2015 proxy battle.
  • But in a 2017 fight with P&G, BlackRock and State Street supported Peltz. 

The fate of Nelson Peltz's proxy fight with Disney partially relies on three investors — the same investors who doomed his DuPont battle nearly 10 years ago.

BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street are among Disney's largest institutional investors, and how they decide to vote at Wednesday's shareholder meeting could spell the end of Peltz's campaign for two Disney board seats.

And if history is any indicator, it might not be looking good for Peltz.

In 2015, Peltz's firm, Trian Partners, lost its proxy fight with US chemical conglomerate DuPont after Vanguard, BlackRock, and State Street — some of DuPont's biggest investors at the time — voted against Peltz's request for four board seats, Reuters reported at the time.

When Peltz waged a proxy battle against Procter & Gamble in 2017 — which he first lost, then later won after a vote recount — Vanguard again voted against him. But unlike the 2015 DuPont battle, this time BlackRock and State Street voted in his favor.

Trian Partners has been spending a boatload of money trying to sway Disney investors to vote on his side, against Disney's current management and CEO Bob Iger.

But, Disney may already be edging ahead of Peltz, according to The Wall Street Journal. Asset management firm BlackRock, which owns a 4.2% stake in Disney, intends to vote against Peltz, the Journal reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the matter.

It's not yet known how State Street, a financial services company, or Vanguard, the investment management firm, intend to vote, or if they've already voted. A spokesperson for State Street told Business Insider they do not comment on individual company votes, and Vanguard did not respond to BI's request for comment. Sources told Bloomberg that Vanguard is backing the company.

So who actually is on Peltz's side?

Money manager T. Rowe Price, global asset manager Neuberger Berman, and pension fund California Public Employees' Retirement System support Peltz and Trian, the Journal reported.

Among those on Disney's side are filmmaker George Lucas, Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, billionaire Laurene Powell Jobs, and former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, Disney says on its website.

Read the original article on Business Insider