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George Lucas says he has 'full faith and confidence' in Disney CEO Bob Iger amid proxy fight

Dominick Reuter,Madeline Berg   

George Lucas says he has 'full faith and confidence' in Disney CEO Bob Iger amid proxy fight
  • George Lucas is throwing his support — and his shares — behind Disney CEO Bob Iger.
  • The Star Wars creator is one of Disney's largest shareholders following the sale of Lucasfilm in 2012.

Star Wars creator George Lucas is rallying in support of Disney CEO Bob Iger, who is locked in a battle with activist investors ahead of the company's annual meeting next month.

"Creating magic is not for amateurs," Lucas said in a statement on Tuesday. "When I sold Lucasfilm just over a decade ago, I was delighted to become a Disney shareholder because of my long-time admiration for its iconic brand and Bob Iger's leadership."

Lucas is understood to be one of Disney's largest individual shareholders following the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012 for 37.1 million shares and $2.2 billion in cash.

At the time, the deal had a value of $4.1 billion.

"When Bob recently returned to the company during a difficult time, I was relieved. No one knows Disney better," Lucas continued. "I remain a significant shareholder because I have full faith and confidence in the power of Disney and Bob's track record of driving long-term value. I have voted all of my shares for Disney's 12 directors and urge other shareholders to do the same."

Lucas's statement comes ahead of the annual April 3 shareholder meeting, where they are set to vote on board members.

Iger is facing a proxy challenge mounted by Nelson Peltz's Trian Fund Management and Blackwells Capital, who are both seeking seats on the board. The groups have attacked Disney's streaming losses, its stock performance, and the lack of a comprehensive succession plan.

Train and Blackwells have each taken their fights to the public with seemingly AI-generated satirical animations, white papers, and sharply critical websites, restorethemagic.com and thefutureofdisney.com.

Disney has responded by enlisting its own wooden puppet, Pinocchio, anchoring a presentation it titled "Correcting Trian's Fiction with Facts" and creating a video in which Donald Duck's uncle Ludwig Von Drake explains how to vote.

Now the House of Mouse is getting an assist from the father of the Force.

Lucas is worth $7.88 billion, according to Bloomberg's Billionaire Index, which estimates that more than half of that — $4.22 billion — is made up of Disney shares. Comparatively, Trian controls about 32 million shares as of last month, now worth about $3.7 billion.

Much of that stock is owned by former Marvel chairman Ike Perlmutter, who supports Peltz.

Beyond his substantial number of voting shares, Lucas is a prominent and respected voice in Hollywood thanks to the long-lasting appeal and profitability of the Star Wars franchise. He joins Walt Disney's heirs in supporting Iger's leadership, as well as shareholder ValueAct Capital.


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