Disney shares ended higher in the US Thursday, as the latest annual shareholder meeting saw attendees vote against a new, higher, four-year compensation package for CEO Bob Iger. The company does not have to act in accordance with that vote.
Walt Disney shares closed 0.42% lower at $104.03, Thursday. The stock is currently lower than where it was at the beginning of 2018.
Remuneration increase too much for shareholders
Iger’s existing pay deal saw him take home $36.3 million in 2017. The new four-year pay deal that 52% of shareholders voted against, is for an increase to a possible $48.5 million per year.
The proposed raise is likely in order to ensure Iger remains with the company during its purchase of certain Fox assets.
“When considering the strategic acquisition of 21st Century Fox, and its direct contribution to long-term shareholder value, the Board decided it was imperative that Bob Iger remain as Chairman and CEO through 2021 to provide the vision and proven leadership required to successfully complete and integrate the largest, most complex acquisition in the Company’s history. 21st Century Fox similarly believed that Bob’s continued stewardship was essential for the deal,” said Aylwin B. Lewis, Chair of the Board’s Compensation Committee, explaining the CEO’s planned pay rise.
“The Board accepts the result of today’s non-binding vote and will take it under advisement for future CEO compensation,” Lewis added.
Disney, Fox deal in regulatory limbo
While both the Disney and Fox boards are keen for Iger to remain at the helm during – and after – the planned purchase, the deal could take some time to complete.
Regulators are currently assessing Disney’s planned purchase of 21st Century Fox. However, the deal has been complicated by an offer from Comcast to buy European TV company, Sky.
The US cable firm made a superior cash bid for Sky in February. Although right now, UK regulators are continuing to probe the existing offer from Murdoch for the popular service.