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George Lucas Comes Out In Support Of Bob Iger, Disney In Proxy Battle: “Creating Magic Is Not For Amateurs”

George Lucas has come out in support of Disney and CEO Bob Iger as the company wages a bitter proxy fight against activist investor Nelson Peltz, who is making a run for two seats on the company’s board.

In a statement issued this morning, Lucas said: “Creating magic is not for amateurs. 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. When Bob recently returned to the company during a difficult time, I was relieved. No one knows Disney better. 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.”

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Disney acquired the company behind Star Wars in late 2012 in a cash and stock deal worth $4 billion, which made the Lucasfilm founder a major Disney stockholder. It was one of a trio of deals, along with Marvel and Pixar, that cemented Iger’s reputation. Former Marvel chief and Disney executive Ike Perlmutter, also a major Disney shareholder, is supporting Trian.

Peltz’ investment firm Trian Group claims a list of grievances from management, strategy, stock price and board accountability that it says could be remedied if its director nominees — Peltz himself and former Disney executive Jay Rasulo — ascended to the board. Trian has been waging an aggressive outreach campaign to woo Disney stockholders. The stock hasn’t cooperated with Peltz, however, rallying in recent months to near its 52-week high.

The media giant rejects all of Trian’s claims and has been as vigorous in its outreach urging shareholders to vote for its slate of 12 nominees, and not for Trian’s. Disney insists neither Peltz nor Rasulo have much to contribute to the board at a particularly complicated time for media that needs the laser focus of its own seasoned pros.

Votes have been coming in and the tally will be revealed at Disney’s annual meeting on April 3. Both side have spent massive amounts on the fight.

Disney got a vote of confidence yesterday when influential proxy advisory service Glass Lewis recommended shareholders vote exclusively for Disney’s nominees. The family of founder Walt Disney penned two separate letters in support of Iger and the current board. Business leaders like JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a dean at the Yale School of Management, have come out in support of Iger.

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