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Disney's largest shareholder Vanguard reportedly backing management over Peltz in board fight

Disney's largest shareholder, index fund manager Vanguard, plans to support management over Nelson Peltz's Trian Partners in Wednesday's board vote, Bloomberg News reported Tuesday, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.

Institutional shareholders have until Wednesday to change their vote. Vanguard owns 7.8% of Disney shares. BlackRock, Disney's second-largest shareholder with 4.2% of shares, is also supporting the incumbent board and CEO Bob Iger, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

The reporting on how Disney's largest shareholders are supposedly voting prompted harsh criticism from onetime activist investor Bill Ackman on Tuesday evening.

"Only the company and its advisors have access to how shareholders have voted before the day of the annual meeting," Ackman wrote on social media platform X. "The reason why the progress of an election for directors must be kept confidential until the results are final is that leaking the results can affect the ultimate outcome."

Disney shareholders should support Peltz's efforts, Ackman wrote, both because he would be "greatly additive" to Disney and because the media leaks, which Ackman alleged came from Disney or its advisors, raised the question of why management was "fighting so hard to keep him off."

It would be a significant blow to Peltz's ambitions to join Disney's board if both BlackRock and Vanguard move to back the media company's candidates. That would leave only State Street and Geode Capital Management, the company's third- and fourth-largest shareholders respectively, as unknowns.

Through an arrangement with former Marvel Chairman Ike Perlmutter, Trian controls 1.8% of Disney shares, making it the fifth largest shareholder. Retail investors have until 11:59