Jamie Dimon endorses Disney CEO Bob Iger in proxy fight with Nelson Peltz's Trian Partners

jamie dimon endorses disney ceo bob iger in proxy fight with nelson peltz's trian partners

Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of Walt Disney (C) speaks next to Jamie Dimon(L), Chairman & CEO of JP Morgan Chase & Co during the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York on September 25, 2019.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon endorsed Disney CEO Bob Iger in his proxy battle with activist Trian Partners, CNBC’s David Faber has learned.

Dimon gave the following statement on Iger to Faber:

“Bob is a first-class executive and outstanding leader who I’ve known for decades. He knows the media and entertainment business cold and has the successful track record to prove it. It’s a complicated industry filled with creative talent, requiring the unique expertise and engagement skills that Bob possesses. Putting people on a Board unnecessarily can harm a company. I don’t know why shareholders would take that risk, especially given the significant progress the company has made since Bob came back.”

Trian, run by Nelson Peltz, launched an intense proxy fight against Disney, asking investors to nominate him and former Disney Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo to the board at its annual general meeting on April 3.

jamie dimon endorses disney ceo bob iger in proxy fight with nelson peltz's trian partners

Nelson Peltz

In a 133-page white paper released earlier this month, Peltz outlined demands for a restructuring of leadership and an overhaul of Disney’s traditional TV channels, which he thinks have been a shrinking business. The activist also wants Disney to target and achieve “Netflix-like margins” of 15% to 20% by 2027. Peltz believes that Netflix is Disney’s biggest competitor.

Meanwhile, Iger has been trying to streamline the sprawling media company to rein in spending and make its Disney+ streaming platform profitable. Iger has instituted broad restructuring, including thousands of layoffs.

In February, Disney reported a blowout quarter with an earnings beat, narrowing streaming losses and upbeat guidance as it saw progress in its effort to cut costs. However, the report didn’t satisfy Peltz.

Dimon rarely weighs in on proxy battles, while JPMorgan does have a history of advising Disney on defensive matters.

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