Challenges in Gender Equality, Proxy Battle Victory, and Dividend Shortfall: Financial Sector Highlights

Goldman Sachs' UK gender pay gap widens; Disney wins proxy fight against Peltz; Breit faces dividend shortfall; Endeavor goes private in $13bn deal.

By Max Weldon

4/4, 01:24 EDT
Blackstone Inc.
Walt Disney Company
Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.

Key Takeaway

  • Goldman Sachs' UK gender pay gap widens, highlighting challenges in promoting women to senior roles.
  • Disney wins proxy battle against Nelson Peltz, with stock rising 50% in six months despite the costly fight.
  • Blackstone's Breit experiences its first dividend shortfall, covering only 95% of its distribution from operations.

Goldman Sachs Gender Pay Gap Widens

Goldman Sachs, a leading global investment bank, is set to announce an increase in its gender pay gap within its UK operations for the year 2023. This development highlights the ongoing challenges the bank faces in advancing women into senior roles. Despite efforts to promote gender equality, the widening gap underscores the complexities of achieving parity in the financial sector. The information, provided by sources familiar with the matter, raises questions about the effectiveness of current strategies to address gender disparities in top positions.

Disney's Proxy Battle Concludes

The high-profile proxy fight between Disney and billionaire investor Nelson Peltz has concluded, with Disney CEO Bob Iger emerging victorious. This battle, one of the most expensive and contentious in recent years, saw Peltz securing approximately 31% of the total vote. Major shareholders like Vanguard and BlackRock supported Disney, contributing to Peltz's defeat. The conflict began nearly two years ago and escalated when Peltz sought a board position, leading to a significant proxy fight. Despite the loss, Peltz's financial position remains strong, with Disney's stock rising 50% in the past six months. The company now faces the challenge of executing a turnaround without the burden of the proxy fight's costs.

Breit's Dividend Shortfall

Blackstone's Real Estate Income Trust (Breit), a $60bn property fund, experienced a shortfall in cash flow to cover its dividend in 2023. This marks the first time the fund has not fully funded its distribution from property-generated cash flow, covering only 95% of its distribution with cash flow from operations. This situation has sparked concerns about the sustainability of the fund's 4.6% annual distribution, especially as similar private property trusts have also reported cash flow shortfalls. Blackstone asserts that the shortfall has no impact on total returns, citing a 10.5% annualized total return since Breit's inception. However, the fund's inability to cover its dividend fully raises questions about the long-term viability of such high payouts.

Endeavor Goes Private

Endeavor Group, a major player in Hollywood and sports, is set to go private in a $13bn deal led by Silver Lake. The move comes after a lackluster performance as a public company and aims to consolidate Endeavor's position in the entertainment industry. The deal includes a significant valuation of Endeavor's interests, including its majority stake in the combat sports company TKO. This privatization reflects a strategic shift for Endeavor, focusing on growth opportunities away from the public market's scrutiny. The complex transaction involves multiple investors and could face legal challenges due to its intricate ownership structure.