Activist investor ValueAct takes Disney stake

Disney studios

Source: Disney

Another activist investor, ValueAct Capital, has taken what is understood to be a significant stake in Disney.

San Fransisco-based ValueAct has not disclosed the size of its stake, which it began building in the summer, but it is reported to be among the company’s larger investments. News of the stake was first reported by CNBC’s Activist Spotlight.

According to CNBC, ValueAct has been in dialogue with Disney’s management and is understood to place a particularly high value on Disney’s parks and consumer products business lines.

ValueAct is reportedly likely to adopt a more collaborative approach with Disney than Nelson Peltz’s Trian Fund Management, which has been highly critical of the studio’s management under CEO Bob Iger.

Trian’s latest 13F SEC submission on Tuesday showed that it had increased its position in Disney significantly. Trian now holds over US$2.66 billion worth of Disney shares, an increase of over 400% in the third quarter (Disney’s market cap is about US$167 billion). However, the bulk of the shares have been entrusted to Trian by former Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter, a longtime foe of Iger, who teamed up with Peltz in October.

ValueAct meanwhile has been active in the media business with stakes in Spotify and The New York Times among others. It was also a shareholder in 21st Century Fox, whose assets were acquired by Disney in 2019.

Some observers have speculated that ValueAct’s acquisition of a stake in Disney could give the company more leverage to resist Peltz’s campaign to secure board representation.

According to CNBC, ValueAct has been an advocate of creating value through building bundles that have enabled companies such as Spotify and the New York Times to combat churn and increase prices.

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