Vanguard likely to support Disney in board vote, says 13D Monitor's Ken Squire

Blooming joining us now, Ken Squire, He’s the founder and president of 13D Monitor, a CNBC contributor. It’s good to see you. Good to have you on closing Bell. Great to see you, Scott. Thanks for having me. You, like many are gaming this out and you suggest it’s not going to be as close as as many people think. What leads you to believe that? Yeah, I think that you know with the with the news with T Row announcing they’re on the company side and and I have no reason to believe that the reporting on BlackRock is not true that they’re on the company side going into this. I think Vanguard is probably the the the the the big shareholder that’s most likely to support the company out of the out of the index funds. And you know it could be a clean sweep for the index funds from the company. And if that’s the case that’s 17% of of the shares and you know in a fight like this maybe 70% of shareholders will vote. So they’re almost halfway there just with those three big index. We all we always focus of course on the on the big guys so to speak. But there is a sizable retail contingent here too. I guess turn out the vote matters what’s happening behind the scenes do you think in the final stages here yeah the the the company and try and and their proxy solicitors have phones to both ears. They’re calling everybody they can as as as as I’m sure you know that even if you voted one way you can change your vote and it’s really only your last vote that counts. So they’re they’re they’re frantically making the calls you you’re right there’s 30 plus percent retail in this in this company. I I retail I think will tend to go with management unless unless unless a really good argument is made to them it’s hard to hit all those small retail investors and get any real mass out of it. So this was you know this was a great fight for for Nelson Peltz. I if I was voting, I would be voting for Nelson Peltz. I think he should be on this board, but I think it’s really an uphill battle at this point. Tell me why you’d be voting for him. I think that I think that this is a board that that needs an experienced shareholder when it comes to succession. This is not about last quarter, it’s not about next quarter, it’s about long term. It’s about holding management accountable. I think having a director on the board like Nelson Peltz that can, that can debate, that can, that can, that can hold management accountable is is invaluable here. When it comes down to it, this is basically Nelson Peltz versus Maria Olena, Lago Messino, that’s who he’s running against. And if I’m a shareholder, I like the board with Nelson on Well, I mean it’s what I find interesting too is that you know the stock has gone straight up in the last, you know, several months, but both sides could potentially use that in their favor. Iger could say, look, the only reason the stock has done what it’s done is because of these plans that I’ve already laid out that shareholders already like. Whereas Nelson Peltz can say the only reason the stocks done what it’s done over this last many months is because I’m here and my chances have increased of getting on this board and I’m going to be able to make a difference and that’s what shareholders want. And and not only can they both say that, they both are saying that and and they’re both right to some extent. I mean there was a Disney had a good quarter that helped the stock. I don’t think the stock would be where it is. I don’t think Disney would have done everything they’ve done if Nelson and Tryon hadn’t shown up. But again, this is not about last quarter, it’s not about next quarter, it’s about CEO succession and and having having a board that has experience with that and I think Nelson would be a very experienced director to help with that. You have a better read than than many others, if not all others on where we are in terms of activism in general. How would you characterize the current environment for activist investors? Right now it’s as strong as I’ve ever seen, I mean going back 1015 years, you know over the last five or six years even through COVID the the activism was was taking a backseat to growth stocks and and high tech. You know Magnificent 7 and in in the market that now is no longer rewarding growth but is really looking at profits. There’s a lot of, there’s a lot of CEOs and management teams that that need to develop new skill sets and that’s when activists are coming in now and looking at companies like Etsy and like Twilio that are hyper gross companies that stopped hyper growing and now need to to improve margins. And it’s just a field day for activists out there, a ton of opportunity and I appreciate your insight as always. We’ll see you soon. Great. Thanks for having me, Scott.

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