UPDATE: The destabilization of Lionsgate continues. Carl Icahn today took to the Internet and started a website slamming Lionsgate’s board in hopes of replacing 5 of the TV/film studio’s directors with his own rival slate. He also issued an “open letter” to shareholders pointing them there and to its 3 reports: 1) “Why change is needed at Lions Gate” (“Through the years I have seen many transgressions of corporate governance but they all pale in comparison to what has taken place during a week in mid-July 2010 at Lions Gate.”), 2) a report produced by Salem Partners investment bank about the value of Lions Gate’s film library (“and about cash flows or — better said — the lack thereof”; and 3) a report comparing Icahn’s nominees with the current directors of Lionsgate. It’s the latest maneuvering by the corporate activist/raider to convince shareholders to vote their “gold” cards for the scheduled December 14th shareholders meeting in Los Angeles. Lionsgate management wants shareholders to vote their “white” cards.
Usually, a proxy fight like this takes months of preparation and involves contacting every shareholder. But this is being done with virtually no time and little expense by Icahn, who owns 33% of Lionsgate. Icahn’s website focuses, in part, on “Which Slate is Better Qualified?” when the truth lies somewhere in-between. In fact, Icahn’s 5 candidates either don’t have showbiz experience or else were fired from their entertainment jobs. Meanwhile, Lionsgate is whispering to Hollywood that Frank Biondi, Jonathan Dolgen, Strauss Zelnick, and Jules Haimovitz were approached to run on Icahn’s slate, and they all turned him down. Hey, it’s nice to be asked, right?
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