The ongoing proxy battle between Walt Disney and activist investor Nelson Peltz has gained a significant ally in the form of filmmaker and Hollywood legend George Lucas. Lucas, who became the largest individual investor in Disney after selling Lucasfilm to the company in 2012, has thrown his support behind Disney CEO Bob Iger.

In a statement provided to CNBC, Lucas expressed his support for Disney in its battle against Peltz and his firm, Trian Fund Management. With his iconic creations of the “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” franchises, Lucas holds a unique position in Hollywood and the entertainment industry. His endorsement not only highlights his role as a major shareholder but also emphasizes his influence and reputation within the industry.

The backing of high-profile figures like Lucas, along with the heirs of Walt and Roy Disney and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, provides Disney with valuable support in its efforts to fend off Peltz’s attempts to join the company’s board. Peltz’s proposed changes, including reforms to Disney’s traditional TV channels, clash with Iger’s strategic vision for the company, which involves reshaping the media giant to adapt to evolving market trends.

While Peltz advocates for a radical overhaul of Disney’s television business, Iger has been implementing measures to streamline operations and boost profitability, particularly with the launch of the Disney+ streaming platform. Iger’s restructuring initiatives have included significant layoffs and cost-cutting measures aimed at positioning Disney for long-term success in a rapidly shifting industry landscape.

The conflict between Disney and activist investor Peltz underscores the challenges faced by traditional media companies in an era of digital disruption. The support of influential figures like George Lucas, who bring not only financial backing but also industry expertise and reputation, is crucial in shaping the outcome of this proxy battle. As Disney continues to navigate these turbulent waters, the backing of key stakeholders will play a pivotal role in determining the company’s future direction.

Business

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