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Disney let go of Marvel Entertainment Chairman Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter Wednesday as part of a massive round of layoffs unveiled earlier this week, following the Marvel Entertainment head’s unsuccessful attempt last year to organize a hostile takeover of Disney’s board of directors.
Disney informed Perlmutter over the phone Wednesday that he had been laid off, just two days after the entertainment giant reportedly began cutting employees as part of its plan to let go of 7,000 staff members (just over 3% of its 220,000 global employees).
In that phone call, Disney officials told Perlmutter that Marvel Entertainment, a subsidiary of Disney focused on consumer products around the so-called Marvel Cinematic Universe, and run separately from film producer Marvel Studios, was “redundant” and that Disney plans to incorporate it into the company’s larger business units, sources told the New York Times.
Marvel Entertainment co-president Rob Steffens and counsel John Turitzin were also laid off, Variety reported.
Disney’s stocks have climbed 1.22% to $95.98 as of 1 p.m. Wednesday, continuing an upward trend on the year, increasing by nearly 8% since January 1.
Perlmutter’s termination Wednesday follows his repeated and unsuccessful attempts last year to land billionaire hedge fund founder Nelson Peltz a seat on Disney’s board, an unsuccessful fight that ultimately led Peltz to launch his own bid to put himself on the 12-member board. Peltz, the founder of hedge fund group Trian, had been pushing for cost reductions and to revamp Disney’s streaming platform, Disney+, which lost subscribers in the last three months of 2022 in its first decline since its 2019 launch. In January, Trian announced it had taken a 0.5% stake in Disney—roughly 9.4 million shares valued at $900 million—and lobbied for other shareholders to support Peltz’s nomination to the board. One month later, however, Peltz ultimately ended his bid for the board, telling CNBC’s Squawk on the Street the “proxy fight is over,” as Disney CEO Robert Iger announced plans to cut 7,000 jobs as part of a cost-saving initiative to save $5.5 billion and restructure the company.
Iger admitted at a Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference earlier this month recent Covid-era price hikes at Disney parks under his predecessor Bob Chapek were a “little too aggressive” and could have soured feelings among its loyal customers. He also suggested the company could do away with its controlling stake in streaming giant Hulu, following up on his comments last month that “everything is on the table” regarding the streaming service.
Billionaire Peltz Ends Disney Proxy Fight With Disney As Stake Swells To $1.1 Billion (Forbes)
Disney Will Reinstate Dividends, Cut 7,000 Jobs As Bob Iger Hones In On Bottom Line (Forbes)
CEO Bob Iger: Disney Park Pricing Was ‘Too Aggressive’ And Hulu Might Be Worth Selling (Forbes)