Disney new target of activist Dan Loeb over dividends, streaming

Dan Loeb, head of the $16.5 billion hedge fund Third Point, says that Disney’s shares are cheap and that the media giant should boost its dividend and look to develop more direct-to-consumer products.

In an interview on CNBC Tuesday, Loeb said that he has had “conversations” with Disney CEO Bob Iger about the possibility of buying Netflix. Loeb said that he has known Iger for some time. “I’ve known Bob for 30 years, he’s the ultimate businessman,” Loeb said. “He’s outthinking his competition.

He understands technology. And he’s cost conscious.” Iger has said that he is not interested in buying Netflix. At the start of the year, Disney took a $52 billion write-down due to the steep price of acquiring 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets. The company said that it planned to split its business into two publicly traded companies, and to focus on its media networks and film and TV studios, leaving the rest of its portfolio to its entertainment division.

Some investors are frustrated with how Walt Disney Co. is doing, and now they’ve gone to one of the firm’s biggest shareholders to get a response. Activist investor Dan Loeb’s Third Point is pushing for Disney to boost its dividend and make a big strategic move, according to a report from CNBC, which cited sources with direct knowledge of the situation.

The firm owns a 5% stake in Disney, the report said. “We look forward to a constructive dialogue,” a Disney spokesperson said in a statement to CNET. “Third Point’s suggestion of a sale of ESPN is not being considered. The Company continues to be fully committed to continuing to drive shareholder value by investing in, revitalizing and redefining our core businesses, launching new products, making strategic acquisitions, and delivering superior returns to shareholders.” It’s unclear what exactly Loeb wants Disney to do, but he has been pushing for the company to sell assets, such as ESPN, to unlock shareholder value, CNBC reports.

Disney shares were trading at $111.80 as of 9:26 a.m. PT Monday, down 0.26 percent. Now Playing: Watch this: Disney acquires rights to Deadpool and Disney

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