Disney reaches deal with activist investor Third Point, will add former Meta executive to its board

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The Disney+ website on a laptop computer in the Brooklyn borough of New York, US, on Monday, July 18, 2022.
Gabby Jones | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Disney has reached a deal with activist investor Dan Loeb’s Third Point, which includes adding former Meta executive Carolyn Everson to its board of directors, the companies said on Friday.

The deal comes weeks after Third Point took a new stake in Disney representing about 0.4% of the company and urged the media company to spin out its sports property, ESPN. Third Point’s 6.35 million shares of Disney are worth about $600 million as of Friday’s closing.

On Friday, Disney said in a public filing that, with Third Point’s support, it would add Everson to its board ahead of its board meeting in November.

“We are pleased with our productive and ongoing dialogue with Bob and Disney’s management team,” Loeb said in the release on Friday.

As part of the deal, Third Point agreed to customary standstill and other provisions, including that it wouldn’t take a stake in Disney that’s larger than 2% and that it wouldn’t solicit proxies or present proposals. Third Point, which also won’t get involved in board nominations, has agreed to the stipulations through Disney’s 2024 annual shareholder meeting, according to the filing.

Disney shares were slightly up in after-hours trading.

“We have a productive and collegial relationship with Third Point, with whom we share a deep commitment to continue building on Disney’s many successes and increasing shareholder value,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek said in the release.

Chapek welcomed Everson’s appointment to the board, pointing to her experience in digital advertising, which he said makes her “a great fit as we continue to position the company for long-term growth.”

Everson was at Meta, formerly Facebook, for more than 10 years, where she served as the social media platform’s ads chief. Although Everson had been considered one of the most prominent women — alongside Facebook’s former COO Sheryl Sandberg — she left the company after Marne Levine was promoted to chief business officer last summer.

Most recently, she did a brief stint as president of grocery delivery service Instacart, where she left after just three months. At the time, Instacart and Everson told CNBC the decision for her to leave was mutual.

With Everson, who will officially take her seat on November 21, Disney will have 12 board members.

Loeb initially eyed Disney’s ESPN business, saying spinning that division off would give Disney more flexibility to pursue sports betting and other business initiatives. However, shortly after, he reversed course.

“We have a better understanding of @espn’s potential as a standalone business and another vertical for $DIS to reach a global audience to generate ad and subscriber revenues,” Loeb said earlier this month in a tweet.

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