Walt Disney and Bob Iger are under pressure from activist investor Nelson Peltz, CEO of Trian Fund Management, who has begun a proxy fight to get on the board.
Walt Disney Co CEO Bob Iger is anticipated to reveal a turnaround strategy when the media firm reports its first quarterly results since the return of the leader who developed the modern incarnation of Disney on Wednesday.
According to employees and industry observers, as uneasiness spreads throughout the ranks of the entertainment behemoth, investors expect Iger to outline a new vision for the company he established and ran for 15 years.
“Bob Iger is making his first public presentation. Everyone will be paying attention, “said Jessica Reif Ehrlich, a Bank of America analyst. “This is the appropriate location. It’s a perfect time.”
Activist investor Nelson Peltz, chief executive of Trian Fund Management, has initiated a proxy war to get on the board of Disney and Iger. Despite its global scope and collection of great entertainment brands, he has accused the corporation of underperforming financially.
In a February 2 letter, the corporation urged its shareholders to reject Peltz’s proposal, stating that the board has the proper combination of experience, talents, and perspective to manage Disney through an unparalleled moment of transition. It also praised Iger’s leadership, noting that during his prior time as CEO, Disney earned a shareholder return of 554%.
Iger declared ambitions to restore decision-making power to the company’s creative executives shortly after returning as CEO in November. Kareem Daniel, the head of the Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution group established by Iger’s predecessor, Bob Chapek, to centralize budgeting and distribution for the studio’s output, left as a result of this transition.
Even senior officials at Disney, known for their secrecy, admit they have no idea what is coming. The restructuring is being discussed at the highest levels of the corporation, with general entertainment CEO Dana Walden, film Chairman Alan Bergman, ESPN’s Jimmy Pitaro, and Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy involved.
ESPN is awaiting an update on its streaming strategy.
Wall Street is anticipating Iger’s evaluation of Disney’s streaming business, which he launched in 2017 with the debut of the company’s own direct-to-consumer service. Despite losses of $1.5 billion in the most recent quarter, the firm has gathered a total of 235.7 million customers across its three streaming services – Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+.
Since last year, when Netflix Inc revealed its first subscriber decrease in more than a decade, investors have began to prioritize profit over subscriber growth. Disney anticipates its direct-to-consumer service to be profitable in fiscal 2024.
ESPN, Disney’s long-running cash cow, is another target for Wall Street. The sports network has been stuck between dwindling cable subscribers and rising league costs.
“I’m not expecting statistics to change, but I am expecting intelligent dialogues that are honest about these businesses,” said SVB MoffettNathanson media analyst Michael Nathanson.
Wall Street analysts predict earnings per share of 78 cents, down from $1.06 a year ago, on revenue of $23.37 billion, up from $21.8 billion.
According to FactSet polled analysts, Disney+ would have 163 million subscribers, a slight decrease from the previous quarter.