The widow and daughter of the founder of Walt Disney Productions said yesterday they have hired a financial adviser to help them "consider alternate means" to represent their interests in the running of the entertainment giant.
It was not immediately clear what Lillian B. Disney and her daughter, Sharon Disney Lund, are seeking. Lund was elected two weeks ago to Disney's board.
The women made the statement in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company, in a statement of its own late yesterday, said the women had to file with the SEC because their combined holdings exceeded 5 percent of Disney's stock. Between them, Disney and Lund own 5.5 percent of the company.
The company statement said the two women "have no intention of disposing of their shareholdings in the company, and that they have met with current management of the company and are fully supportive of the company and its management."
The two women, who could not be reached for comment, between them own 1.86 million Disney shares. They are believed by many observers to be allied with other Disney family members and the company's largest shareholders, the Bass family of Texas, in debates on company policy.
But in their filing with the SEC yesterday, the women said they had hired Dillon Read & Co., an investment banking firm, "to consider alternative means by which their interests may more effectively be represented in the establishment of the policies and direction of the company ." The statement did not elaborate, although Disney and Lund said they had "no present plans or proposals."
Earlier this year, another family member, Roy Disney, Walt Disney's nephew, quit the company's board and threatened a takeover challenge in protest against management of the company by then-president Ron Miller, formerly the husband of another of Walt Disney's daughters. Roy Disney later rejoined the board, but he was instrumental in the ouster of Miller several weeks ago.