Jon Feltheimer has renewed his contract as CEO of Lionsgate further into 2023 than his previous deal, with the company’s board now having the option to extend him for up to two more years beyond that.
The new deal for the longtime media executive, who has run Lionsgate since 2000, expires August 21. When he signed an extension in 2016, it had carried the expiration date of May 22, 2023. The company’s board now has the ability to extend him either one year, to August 2024, or two years, to August 2025.
When the board met last week to approve the extension, according to an SEC filing, it also granted Feltheimer two million of the company’s Class B non-voting shares. They can be exercised in 2023 at $8.17 a share.
The new setup gives the board greater flexibility in terms of the company’s management structure moving forward. Having absorbed the $4.4 billion Starz acquisition and rectified problems in its film division, Lionsgate has been on a smoother trajectory of late, though it has faced challenges from COVID-19 like all studios.
In the TV production arena, the company has coped with pandemic-related shutdowns and obstacles but managed to have all five of its first-year series get renewed. Starz has continued to post steady growth in streaming subscriptions. Now in 50 countries, Starz has extended its reach into key territories like India, Japan and Germany, where it has no linear pay-TV presence.
Lionsgate’s stock has rallied of late after cratering to nearly $4 a share in the springtime. It closed Wednesday’s trading day at $9.43, up almost 3% on the day.
While the news has been upbeat of late, the company remains a frequent subject of takeover rumors given its size and the restlessness of media companies doing battle with tech giants. While it may yet make an appealing target, Lionsgate itself has grown dramatically since Feltheimer first took the controls.
Feltheimer, 68, joined Lionsgate after a run in Sony’s TV exec ranks. He engineered a series of acquisitions of companies, from smaller firms like Artisan and Trimark, to bigger ones like Starz and Summit. The company’s capabilities in film and TV have increased dramatically compared with its early indie and genre days.