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Peltz’s Trian up 3% this year even as Disney bet soured

The main gate at The Walt Disney Studios the day after the Writers Guild of America (WGA) announced it reached a preliminary labor agreement with major studios in Burbank, California, U.S., September 25, 2023. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni


By Svea Herbst-Bayliss

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Nelson Peltz’s Trian Fund Management returned nearly 3% in the first nine months of the year, investors said on Tuesday, as his bet on Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) Co contributed to the activist hedge fund lagging its peers’ returns.

Disney’s stock price has tumbled roughly 30% since February, when Peltz ended a battle for a board seat but kept Trian invested in the stock.

Since the end of June, Peltz increased his ownership at Disney five-fold to a nearly 2% stake, worth $2.5 billion, people familiar with his portfolio said. Now he wants “multiple” seats, including one for himself, on the 11-member board, Reuters reported on Monday.

Beyond Disney, Trian’s biggest investments at the end of June included asset manager Janus Henderson Group (NYSE:JHG) Plc, plumbing and heating products distributor Ferguson Plc, and fast food chain Wendy’s (NASDAQ:WEN) Co.

Trian’s returns have historically been strong, with the firm returning an average 12% a year, an investor said.

Trian declined to comment.

Some blue-chip activist investors, including Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management and Jeff Smith’s Starboard Value, are posting better numbers.

Pershing Square was up 11.7% through the end of September while Starboard was up nearly 10% through the middle of September, investors said. The average activist investor gained nearly 7% through the end of September, according to Hedge Fund Research data.

Pershing Square declined to comment and Starboard did not respond to a request for comment.

At the end of June, the average activist investor was up 11.5% while Trian was up roughly 6%, HFR data and investors said.


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