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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Here’s who owns Disney stock, and why

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Many speculated that the upcoming Disney stock split might be the only way for the entertainment giant to reward its billionaire founder, the Walt Disney Co. founder, before his 100th birthday. That theory got a push last week, when the company confirmed its plans to give Mr. Disney a percentage of the new stock split. But there was also news of a new investment by Mr. Loeb.

The biggest of Mr. Loeb’s three holdings in Disney, which are represented by five percent of his holdings, is the Loeb Partners portfolio, which owns 14.2 million shares. His most significant loss on Disney thus far was a $19 million drop in his position, following the company’s disappointing quarterly results in March 2016, according to Bloomberg. (An even bigger hit came on Nov. 29, 2017, when Disney’s stock price dropped 13 percent in the stock market closing bell, after the company’s ESPN Pay-TV network was dealt a blow by the termination of a lucrative deal with the National Football League.)

Mr. Loeb “has invested long-term in Disney, and views the opportunity to acquire additional shares of the Company as a unique and compelling opportunity,” the investment bank Jefferies, which arranged the stock split deal, wrote in a note to investors on Friday. “While there could be capital appreciation when the split is completed, we see that as a secondary event. We find his position in Disney to be well-balanced and well-positioned for capital appreciation.”

The investment firm also valued Mr. Loeb’s investment at $4.6 billion, or almost 7 percent of the total value of Mr. Loeb’s portfolio.

Mr. Loeb’s portfolio

Dollar Value / $ M*Estimated Value in Dollars of His ST PLC Walt Disney Co., shares 95.45 06/28/2017

And the shares he plans to buy

Bloomberg View

Mr. Loeb isn’t the only one to buy into the Disney fold, in the wake of the studio’s dominance at the box office. Shortly after the company said last Wednesday that Black Panther had become the first comic book movie to top $1 billion worldwide, others started buying up Disney shares. After the studio said this week that A Wrinkle in Time had become the first Disney movie to surpass $100 million in its opening weekend, Dick Huizenga, the chief executive of Best Buy, spent $3.8 million on more than 4.8 million shares, valued at $186.5 million. The billionaire’s investment could be an even bigger winner if Black Panther has the kind of momentum that Wonder Woman had and ends up as the biggest superhero movie of all time. Or not.

Aside from the Loeb Partners positions, Mr. Loeb is chairman of Managed Capital, an investment firm where he’s already made $25.3 million since the start of the year, according to a filing from March. His firm has an investment in Loeb’s Third Point LLC, which is “entirely passive,” according to a spokesman. (Managed Capital’s broker-dealer arm, American Stock Transfer & Trust, executes trades for Loeb’s other shares in Walt Disney.)

As of June, about two-thirds of Mr. Loeb’s net worth came from the work at his hedge fund, which has returned 16 percent for the year as of June 30, compared with the average hedge fund’s 3.2 percent gain, according to an index by investment company FactSet. According to Bloomberg’s measure of Mr. Loeb’s stake worth per share, though, the Loeb Partners position has outperformed since the beginning of the year, with a gain of 13.3 percent, compared with 8.3 percent for the average industry giant.

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