Activist Blackwells says strategy, transparency issues hampering Disney

(Reuters) – Walt Disney investor Blackwells Capital said the lack of a strong content and technology strategy as well as governance and transparency issues were hampering the entertainment giant’s performance, as it attempts to get board seats at the company.

Blackwells, one of the two activist shareholders seeking Disney board seats, said last week the company needed to come up with an artificial intelligence (AI) strategy, and that such a move could offer a strong boost its stock.

“Disney’s board lacks critical bandwidth and expertise in content, media, technology and governance best-practices,” Jason Aintabi, investment head of Blackwells, said in a presentation published on Monday.

Disney, shares of which were up 1.3% in premarket trading after the news, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Nelson Peltz’s Trian Fund Management is also campaigning for two board seats at Disney.

Blackwells has largely backed Disney CEO Bob Iger’s leadership, but it recently laid out potential changes, including a possible breakup and spinning off its park and hotel assets into a real estate investment trust.

Last week, the grandchildren of Roy and Walt Disney, founders of Walt Disney Co, backed CEO Iger and the board, while opposing activist investors targeting the company.

They warned Disney shareholders in an open letter about the threats posed by “self-anointed” activist investors, calling them “wolves in sheep’s clothing” waiting to tear apart the company.

(Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)


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