Lionsgate Reports Net Q1 Loss Of $64M; Blames Underperformance Of 'The Killers'; Spent $30.6 Million Fighting Off Carl Icahn

Earnings season has produced better-than-expected results at the major studios and networks with only Disney left to report tomorrow. (Watch for Deadline’s full summary.) But Lionsgate just reported bad news when Carl Icahn is breathing down its neck for that hostile takeover attempt. The mini-major today reported revenue of $326.6 million and adjusted EBITDA of negative $13.7 million for the first quarter of fiscal year 2011 compared to positive $53.4 million for the prior year first quarter. Net loss was $64.1 million in the quarter compared to net income of $36.3 million in the prior year’s first quarter.

The loss was attributable primarily to an increase of $71.2 million in theatrical marketing costs as the Company distributed three wide releases in the quarter compared to one wide release in the prior year’s first quarter. Revenue declined 14% compared to the prior year’s first quarter due primarily to the deconsolidation of TV Guide Network revenue, the timing of television deliveries, the decline in Mandate Pictures revenue compared to a record quarter last year, as well as a decline in home entertainment revenue attributable to the smaller theatrical slate in fiscal 2010. Basic net loss per common share for the quarter was $0.54 compared to basic net income of $0.31 in the prior year’s first quarter.

“Our first quarter was affected by marketing costs for our three wide releases, timing of television deliveries and the underperformance of our theatrical release KILLERS,” said Lionsgate Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jon Feltheimer. “With our upcoming theatrical slate, beginning with this Friday’s opening of THE EXPENDABLES, and the continued strength of our television, library and channel businesses, we remain poised to achieve our full year financial targets.”

Mandate Pictures’ revenue of $13.3 million in the first quarter declined 75% from the prior year’s first quarter, affected primarily by timing and a slate that compared unfavorably to revenues from the prior year’s record first quarter slate.

Also of interest was this relating to management’s battle with Icahn: that stock-based compensation increased $23.3 million in the first quarter “primarily reflecting accelerated vesting of restricted share units (RSU’s), stock options and stock appreciation rights caused by the triggering of change of control provisions in senior management contracts. The quarter also included $7.3 million in corporate defense costs related to shareholder activist activities.”

Lionsgate sources claim the film and TV studio is still tracking toward the optimistic financial targets for the full year discussed back on management’s June 2nd analyst call: strong positive adjusted EBITDA, breakeven free cash flow, an 11th straight year of revenue growth, and another record year in television and library revenue.

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