Corporate raider Carl Icahn’s stake in Lionsgate has grown to 33.9% after the June 30 expiry of his $7 per share tender offer, putting further pressure on the Santa Monica-based studio.
The news paves the way for a proxy fight that could give Icahn control of the company, unless the battling parties reach an agreement beforehand.
If Icahn is indeed heading towards a proxy fight his most likely next step would be to present his alternative board members to the current incumbents.
A Lionsgate source recently told Screendaily that Icahn’s recent 31.8% stake would not be “nearly enough to win a proxy fight.” Whether the 2.1 point rise in Icahn’s ownbership changes that remains to be seen.
A successful proxy fight for Icahn would allow him to avoid paying a premium for ownership. Lionsgate has said that $7 a share does not constitute a control premium. The entrepreneur has said that if he loses the proxy fight, he will end his fight for control.
In a statement issued today [July 1] Lionsgate said: “At the completion of the Icahn Group’s offer, holders of over 66% of Lionsgate shares have rejected the Icahn Group’s offer, with only 2.1% of the outstanding shares being tendered into the offer during the subsequent offering period.
“We want to take this opportunity to thank our shareholders. Lionsgate’s shareholders have repeatedly confirmed their support for the board and management’s strategy to grow shareholder value by continuously rejecting the Icahn Group’s financially inadequate offer.”
The statement concluded: “Our focus continues to be running the business to build value for all of our shareholders. As reflected in our strong fiscal 2010 results, the board believes that the best path for increasing the value of the company for the benefit of all shareholders is to continue executing Lionsgate’s growth strategy. We look forward to continuing to unlock the exceptional value within Lionsgate’s diversified portfolio of assets.”