On the topic of the reignited proxy war between Iger-run Disney and dissident investor Nelson Peltz, there has been a “third party” floating around the conversation. This third party is the ‘world’s richest man,’ billionaire Elon Musk.
Elon and Disney – A Brief History
Elon Musk was once a staunch Disney fanatic. A cursory look back at Elon Musk’s X timeline unearths fond memories of Walt Disney World. Last decade, Musk frequented Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom Park prior to SpaceX’s launches at Cape Canaveral. However, this is no longer the case.
At Disney World w kids for traditional prelaunch visit (first good flight was after riding Space Mountain)
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 24, 2013
On November 30th, 2023, Elon Musk took to the stage at The New York Times DealBook Summit. There, he singled out summit-attendee Bob Iger for pulling Disney’s advertising from his platform, X. “If somebody’s going to try to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money…go f— yourself,” said Musk. “Is that clear? I hope it is. Hey Bob! If you’re in the audience.” “Don’t advertise,” he concluded.
Over the following week, Elon issued a series of posts on X directed at Disney CEO Bob Iger, culminating in a call for his firing.
He should be fired immediately.
Walt Disney is turning in his grave over what Bob has done to his company.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 7, 2023
On December 30th, 2023, Elon would re-engage, highlighting the fact that the Disney Parks largely account for the company’s valuation. Some would go farther to say that ‘Parks & Experiences’ is the only segment of the company that makes consistent profits. Despite this, Disney severely limits capital expenditure at their theme parks in favor of funneling it towards the studios. Disney’s past five theatrical releases have been poorly-received box office bombs.
Disney’s entire market cap right is just the parks. Investors are valuing everything else as neutral to negative, for good reason. https://t.co/vYeCPNqxCF
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 31, 2023
Elon Knows About The Proxy War
Many fans have speculated on whether Elon could join the proxy fight. Peltz, who is the beneficiary of 33 million shares in The Walt Disney Company, could be given a leg-up by billionaire Musk. Giant institutional investors will likely opt in favor of maintaining the Iger-dominated Disney Empire when it comes time to vote on board nominees this spring. A third party buying additional millions in voting shares to add to the dissident column could tip the scales.
On January 18th, 2024, Elon Musk seeked out Peltz’s just-relaunched “Restore The Magic” campaign account on the X platform. This account, which had a measly 200 followers, is unlikely to have organically surfaced in Elon’s feed. Boosting Peltz’s reach, Elon replied to an infographic posted by “Restore The Magic.”
Brutal track record. Shareholders have been incredibly poorly served by the @Disney board!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 18, 2024
This makes it official that Elon, who previously ‘misspelled’ Iger’s name in his posts, clearly knows more than he lets on. At this hour, it is confirmed that Elon Musk is aware of the proxy fight about to unfold at Disney. Whether he will aid Peltz beyond posting messages of support on X remains to be seen.