Blackwells Addresses Disney Shareholders Over the ValueAct’s Board Endorsement

Blackwells Capital has asserted that Walt Disney Co. should have disclosed its relationship with ValueAct Capital Management, which managed a portion of its pension fund assets, sparking tensions between the two activist investment firms with distinct agendas at the entertainment conglomerate.

In a letter addressed to Disney shareholders, New York-based Blackwells alleged that the company’s board failed to adequately disclose that ValueAct or its affiliates had oversight of more than $350 million of Disney’s pension assets, as disclosed in a statement on Monday.

Blackwells approximated that ValueAct received fees ranging from approximately $55 million to $95 million for these services, citing Disney’s filings spanning fiscal years 2013 to 2022.

Aligned with another activist investor, Blackwells is advocating for board changes at Disney, despite ValueAct and its Chief Executive Officer Mason Morfit publicly endorsing Disney’s board earlier this year. Blackwells contended in its letter that shareholders should have been informed about the pension arrangement before ValueAct’s show of support.

“The board has consistently emphasized ValueAct’s endorsement in proxy materials distributed to millions of shareholders,” Blackwells stated. “Does the board believe that shareholders can assess the significance of ValueAct’s endorsement without a comprehensive understanding of the relationship?”

Representatives for both ValueAct and Blackwells declined to comment further, while a spokesperson for Disney did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In January, ValueAct pledged to support Disney’s board nominees at the company’s forthcoming annual shareholder meeting scheduled for April 3. This commitment has positioned the investment firm as a significant ally for Disney in countering Blackwells’ efforts, along with a separate initiative by Nelson Peltz’s Trian Fund Management to secure board seats and advocate for strategic changes.

Josh Alba
Josh Alba
Josh Alba stands at the forefront of contemporary business journalism, his words weaving narratives that illuminate the intricate workings of the corporate world. With a keen eye for detail and a penchant for uncovering the underlying stories behind financial trends, Josh has established himself as a trusted authority in business writing. Drawing from his wealth of experience and relentless pursuit of truth, Josh delivers insights that resonate with readers across industries.
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