Break Up Disney? One Activist Investor Wants to Split Up the Media Giant





The battle over Walt Disney’s future has gotten even more complicated, with another activist investor jumping in with his own proposal to break up the media giant in smaller businesses.

The proposal comes from Blackwells Capital, a second investor looking to shake up the company with its own candidates to serve on the board. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the investment firm proposed spinning out its real estate into its own business. Separately, the firm would also consider breaking up the rest of Disney into three companies, focused on sports, entertainment, and “experiences” (the theme parks and cruises), respectively.

“Disney may simply be too complex for any one successor to (CEO Bob) Iger to manage holistically, and Blackwells believes that it is the responsibility of the Board to oversee these types of analyses in the ordinary course.

The addition of Blackwells creates a three-way proxy battle, with Disney and activist investor Trian Management, led by Nelson Peltz, each nominating their own directors to the 12-member board. It’s also the latest potential headache for Iger, whose return to the company has been met with multiple challenges, from flagging visitors to its theme parks to several misfires at the box office from big franchises like Marvel and Indiana Jones.

Blackwells believes the real estate business alone is worth 44% of the Disney’s total market capitalization, with a spinoff allowing it to return value ot shareholders.

The firm nominated Jessica Schell, Craig Hatkoff, and Leah Solivan to the board, and touted their media experience.

A Disney spokesman wasn’t immediately available to comment on the filing from Blackwells. The company had previously said its nominated directors were the best candidate for the company.

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