Sunday, February 04, 2018

My 2018 Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement from Disney Has ARRIVED!!!

I own a few shares of Disney stock.  These days, it’s about as close as I can get to being part of a Star Wars experience. 

As a consequence of stock ownership, annual reports with a strutting Mickey arrive at the doorstep with their “year in review” and a list of who will be running for their board of directors.  Glossing past the payments for being “on” the board (300K+), Iger’s $2.5M salary, his $12M “performance based bonus,” and “$17.3M “equity awards,” the board of director candidates include operating executives of the Carlyle group (whose management included the Saudi Bin Laden corporation), General Motors, BlackBerry, Sears, WE Family Offices (whose focus on ultra high-net-worth international families belies the implication of traditional “family”), the biotech company Illumina, Oracle, NIKE, and Estee Lauder.

Wow.  General Motors, BlackBerry and Sears really kept ahead of the curve in the past decade.  Illumina and Oracle may help Disney actually build a Stepford Wife for the investors at WE.  NIKE can help them run from the consequences, and Estee Lauder can make it all smell pretty.

But wait! There’s MORE!

The board recommends a “yes” for executive compensation but a “no” for transparency with its lobbying practice!  Here is a nice passage from page 65 of their statement: (quote) Disney spent $2,524,624 on lobbying in California from 2010-2016, and Disney’s lobbying in California has attracted media attention (“Family Friendly? Disney Funds Lobbyists Fighting to Deny Americans Parental Leave,” Republic report, May 29, 2012). (end quote) Apparently this is the third year the lobbying proposal has been put forth, and it has been unable to obtain more than 33% support in prior submissions.


There is no mention here of the Fox acquisition being planned, but among the broadcast ownership of Disney comes the expected ABC and ESPN, are investments in A&E, History, Lifetime, LMN, FYI channels... and VICE!
VICE is described as an afterthought, an 18% interest via A&E and a 10% direct ownership, with the line, “a channel offering programming of lifestyle-oriented documentaries and reality series aimed towards millennials,” and 70 million estimated subscribers (I see it comes buried and bundled with my current Comcast).

VICELAND programming includes - and I confess these sounded like Onion posts or rejected National Lampoon Radio Hour episodes:

Abandoned - skateboarding in abandoned areas with the lights out
Ball’s Deep - “to find out what humanity’s deal is”
Beerland - to go across the country to drink .... beer
Bong Appetit - going to cannabis parties
F*ck, That’s Delicious - eating, probably to be shown after Bong Appetit
Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia - to seek out exotic ... drugs
Huang’s World - with “the world's only Human Panda, Eddie Huang, takes us on a hilarious journey exploring race, identity, multiculturalism, and his irritable bowel syndrome through food”
It’s Suppertime! - again, about .... food
People Just Do Nothing ... ok
Party Legends - ok, this one at least uses “emerging artists and animators” (read, “unpaid interns”) to describe legendary ... parties
Slutever - for “female sexuality, gender, and love” - one episode has the hostess seeking an anonymously delivered “happy ending” for a woman’s massage - a bit unsettling in light of the recent Larry Nassar trial and sentencing
Weediquette - in its third season - exploring “heady times”
...and there are many, many more...

I looked for “Ow, My Balls!” but I guess that’s for 2019...

And speaking of 2019, this mailbox eagerly awaits the next Disney Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement!

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