Late last year, we learned that controversial former Marvel Entertainment Chairman Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter had joined forces with veteran Disney executive Jay Rasulo and pledged his considerable Disney shares to billionaire businessman Nelson Peltz.
Peltz’s firm, Trian Partners, has a $3 billion stake in Disney, and after taking their case to shareholders, the investor is looking for three out of the twelve seats on the board.
Disney has come right out and stated that Perlmutter has a “personal agenda” against Iger and that his interests “may be different than that of all other shareholders,” but with Ike’s shares alone making up 80% of Trian’s stake, they could obviously cause some big problems.
According to a new report from THR, the ultimate goal is to get board seats for both Peltz and Rasulo, and, most likely, install Rasulo as new CEO.
“Jay has credibility. He’s not some Palm Beach crank,” one Disney insider tells the trade. “He’s a very legitimate voice about where Disney was eight years ago. Ike is angry and eating three nights a week at Mar-a-Lago but Jay showing up on that side is a very significant event.”
Perlmutter’s long-time attorney, John Turitzin, dismisses the perception that his client is seeking retribution, however.
“It’s an absurd suggestion to make,” he says. “[Perlmutter] has got, I don’t know how many billions of dollars tied up in Disney. He’s not going to [play] a revenge game with the majority of his personal wealth.”
Perlmutter made a lot of enemies during his time at Marvel, and reportedly attempted to stand in the way of the studio developing both Black Panther and Captain Marvel because he didn’t think toys depicting Black and female superheroes would sell.
According to one source, when the decision was made to replace Terrence Howard with Don Cheadle in the 2010 Iron Man sequel, Perlmutter told a Disney executive that the move saved money and no one would notice because “Black people look the same” (Turitzin denies that Perlmutter said this).
Turitzin also addressed Perlmutter resisting Black Panther, claiming that it was “not because [he was] racist but because it had never been done before and its success wasn’t guaranteed.”
Perlmutter is no fan of Kevin Feige, either, so if he does manage to regain some power at Disney, some major changes at Marvel Studios could well be on the horizon.
We’ll be sure to keep you updated as this situation develops.