He purchased 1.6 million more shares of Liongate today. So Carl Icahn now controls through his funds 13,844,151 shares out of the 115,739,000 shares outstanding, making his stake 11.96%. Mark Rachesky, who was Icahn’s chief investment officer, controls 20,339,503 shares, making his stake 17.57%. In total, the two now have a combined stake of 28.96% after increasing their stakes by over 4% in just the past week, and by more than 12% of the company since the end of October. Gordy Crawford over at Capital Research and Management re-affirmed his stake last Friday of 9.5%. The last report of Steinberg Asset Management put Michael A Stenberg over 14.5%. So now, if you add all 4 of those stakes controlled by shareholder activist/corporate raider type investors, you have 52.96%.
They control the company. Ergo, Lionsgate no longer belongs to Jon Feltheimer, Joe Drake or Michael Burns. Any major decision (i.e. the purchase of TV Guide, the amount of shares they repurchase, any major corporate action), and you can bet they communicate with these guys before making any move. So what is the ultimate goal here? Probably, the eventual sale of this company for a premium. It is the last remaining large independent studio. It has one of the largest libraries in the business, increasing in size from 8,000 titles since he began investing in the company three years ago to nearly 12,000 titles today. It has a television business with shows Mad Men and Weeds hitting syndication in the next few years so Lionsgate can reap the rewards. Icahn may be a lot of things good and bad, but he ain’t stupid, so he wouldn’t be starting with 3.6% of the company in late 2005 and throwing $75 million dollars into stock purchases of it if he didn’t have a plan.