EXCLUSIVE: Reliable sources tells me that Lionsgate vice chairman Michael Burns flew to NYC on Wednesday night to have dinner with Carl Icahn “to see if they could work together and avert a hostile takeover of the studio”. This is a very big deal because in recent months and weeks the two men have been sparring very publicly on CNBC. Or Icahn and Lionsgate management have been sending nasty letters to shareholders and even nastier news releases to the media about each other. I understand that Burns explained why Lionsgate is having merger talks with MGM. That may be the reason why Carl was not completely dismissive of the idea Friday — but not why he still slammed management for distracting from the studio’s problems. Remember, a proxy fight like the one Icahn has pledged to wage is a very expensive proposition. And now that Lionsgate stock has joined the Russell 2000 index and jumped past Carl’s $7-a-share tender offer, Icahn may have to offer at least $7.50 to control more than 32% of the studio. Thus making his hostile takeover still more pricey.
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