The man who PROVES going woke will make you broke! How billionaire Republican donor and ‘activist’ investor Nelson Peltz turns businesses around by telling them to cut the politics and put profits first… as he sets his sights on Disney
- Peltz, 80, wants a seat on Disney’s board to apply ‘leadership mentality’
- He says the company has been guilty of ‘poor corporate governance’ for too long
- In the past, he warned Unilever – another company he owns a stake in – against becoming too political
- He is a Republican donor but not a die-hard right wing, telling Washington instead to ‘get along’ for the sake of the economy
Nelson Peltz, the billionaire activist investor vying to overhaul Disney, has a long history of taking on woke politicians and CEOs who he believes are harming America.
Yesterday, Peltz – the 80-year-old father of Brooklyn Beckham‘s actress wife Nicola Peltz – made a play for Disney with an SEC filing asking for a seat on the board, and with a multi-faceted social media and website campaign to ‘restore’ its lost ‘magic’.
It marks a new chapter in Disney’s checkered recent history; the once-revered American behemoth has gone down in the estimations of many families who say it’s become too political.
Peltz’s bid for Disney is not his first attempt to take control – or at least steer – a once-thriving company that he believes has lost its way with virtue signaling.
In September 2021, he did just that with Unilever, the company that owns a range of brands, including Ben & Jerry’s. During a meeting in London, New York-born Peltz confronted Unilever’s CEO, Alan Jope about the famously liberal Ben & Jerry’s and its many political statements.
Nelson Peltz, the legendary activist investor, is making a play for Disney. Peltz is famously conservative but not in an extreme way: he prefers profits over politics, and tells companies to follow the same philosophy if they want to be successful
Yesterday, Peltz – the 80-year-old father of Brooklyn Beckham’s actress wife Nicola Peltz – made a play for Disney with an SEC filing asking for a seat on the board, and with a multi-faceted social media and website campaign to ‘restore’ its lost ‘magic’
Specifically, he told Jope it was a mistake for the company to get involved in issues such as Palestine’s conflict with Israel.
At the time, Ben & Jerry’s had vowed to stop selling ice cream in ‘Palestinian territories’.
According to The Financial Times, Peltz warned Jope ‘no company has any place making these kinds of political statements.’ It was, according to the Times, the only conversation they’d ever had.
In May 2022, nearly a year after that conversation, Peltz joined Unilever’s board and the share price soared by seven percent.
Unilever then sold Ben & Jerry’s in Israel to stay out of the conflict, a move that was criticized by the Vermont ice cream maker.
In years prior, Peltz has turned other companies around by splitting their divisions and drilling down on operational efficiency rather than corporate posturing.
His no-nonsense approach is rooted in his early career, when he drove a truck for his family’s wholesale food distribution company after dropping out of Wharton because he was ‘bored’.
Over the next 15 years, Peltz was given free reign of that company – A. Peltz & Sons – and with his brother, he grew up it to a food distribution giant.
The Simon Wiesenthal founder Rabbi Marvin Hier (L), Nelson Peltz (C), and Rupert Murdoch (R) attend the Simon Weisenthal Center in 2006
NELSON PELTZ’S GOLDEN TOUCH: THE MANY COMPANIES THE ‘ACTIVIST’ INVESTOR HAS TURNED AROUND
They took the company public at $150million in 1973.
From then on, Peltz set his sights on the industry at large.
In 1997, he and his partners acquired Snapple from Quaker Oats and turned it around before selling it to Schweppes. In 2007, he masterminded Cadbury’s splitting its confectionary arm from Schweppes, its drinks arm, and the company soared.
He performed a similar overhaul at Proctor & Gamble, joining its board in March 2018 then exiting in October 2021, after reviving its share price with a series of structural changes.
In interviews, he is plain when addressing his strategy, that he says has always drilled down on business and operations.
He dislikes big tech and how it dominated the markets over the last five years, instead preferring structurally sound, product-driven companies.
A Unilever share price chart shows how the company’s stock jumped in May 2022 with the news that Peltz was joining its board. It has continued to rise since then
In 2021, Peltz joined the board of Proctor & Gamble. He simplified its enormous portfolio structure, which he called a ‘thicket’, and boosted operational efficiency as a result. He sold his shares in 2022
In July 2021, Ben & Jerry’s announced it planned to withdraw from Palestinian ‘territory’ in protest over the conflict with Israel
Weeks later, Peltz met with Alan jope, the CEO of Ben & Jerry’s parent company, Unilever. He told Jope it was a mistake for Ben & Jerry’s to become so political
After acquiring a stake in Unilever, Peltz joined the board in May 2022 and sent the share price soaring
Two months later, Unilever sold its Ben & Jerry’s Israeli operation to withdraw from the controversy
In 1997, Peltz and his partners acquired Snapple from Quaker Oats and turned it around before selling it to Schweppes. In 2007, he masterminded Cadbury’s splitting its confectionary arm from Schweppes, its drinks arm, and the company soared
‘The problem for those of us who invest in public securities as opposed to private ones is that unless you were in 12 or 14 stocks, it was really hard to keep pace with the S&P over the last five or six years.
‘It was ridiculous. All of the gains came in a dozen or so stocks.
‘Today there’s a reversal.
‘Even though we’re going to be in a recession, I think cash flow, stability, good quality companies are going be valued once again when this is all over.
‘Those are the kind of companies that we invest in. They’re boring companies, but they’re really wonderful companies that generate cash,’ he said in a recent interview with Bloomberg.
That strategy has proved unique in recent years as companies and lawmakers have become more focused on values than bottom lines.
While Peltz may think there’s no place for politics in business, he has donated generously to Republicans including Donald Trump in the past, and is a keen supporter of Joe Manchin.
A regular on CNBC, Peltz is however not a die-hard, right-wing Republican.
‘Anywhere from from center-right to center-left works for me. It worked forever in this country until we had these elected officials trying to push us to the extreme where it doesn’t work, where it’s uncomfortable,’ he said in one interview last year.
‘This is still capitalism, this is not socialism. This is still a meritocracy, and we better keep it that way.
‘Our problem is that the elected officials today are myopic. They can’t see past 8ft across the aisle.’
Peltz didn’t vote for Trump in 2016 – (he did in 2020 – and lived to regret it after January 6 riot, telling CNBC: ‘What happened yesterday is a disgrace. As an American, I’m embarrassed.)
Peltz with his daughter, Nicola. She is now married to Brooklyn Beckham
Peltz is firm on his resistance to China, which he views as America’s biggest threat, and wishes Washington would wake up to it.
‘Our enemies are across the ocean – they are not across the aisle. These guys we sent to Washington better learn that and better learn how to get along.’
Those who have worked with him in the past have told how he is driven by value above all-else.
‘Peltz has a piratical charm and a velvet glove. But don’t mistake the iron fist. He is relentless in pursuit of his own objective, which is value creation.
‘But don’t mistake the iron fist. He is relentless in pursuit of his own objective, which is value creation,’ Roger Carr, the CEO of Cadbury’s during the aforementioned overhaul, told The Financial Times.
‘He always prefers to win you over through his enthusiasm and optimism. But as any true East New York kid, he won’t shy from a fight if it is the only way forward,’ said another friend.