A potentially explosive power struggle is brewing over at Lionsgate films where billionaire investor Carl Icahn is scooping up shares of the financially troubled company. Icahn’s ownership of the mini studio has rapidly increased from 4% in October 2008 to 14% as of February 2009. He’s been buying the stock at a deeply undervalued price, which sunk to dismally low levels after Lionsgate reported $93.4 million in losses last fiscal quarter.
If you’re unfamiliar with Icahn, Wikipedia’s bio should illuminate:
Carl Celian Icahn (born February 16, 1936) is an American billionaire financier, corporate raider, and private equity investor. His net worth is US$14 billion as of 2008, making him the 46th richest man in the world.
Icahn has a notorious penchant for buying distressed companies, railing against their CEOs and then reaping sweet financial rewards. When he increased his Lionsgate stake from 4% to 9% back in October, Nikki Finke’s issued the following caveat to Jon Feltheimer, Lionsgate’s president: “Be afraid. Be very afraid, Jon Feltheimer.” Despite the troubles, Feltheimer is staying “upbeat” as he told me at a recent Lakers Game. But with the latest news, in which Icahn notified the SEC he might shake things up on their board, we’ll see how long that lasts.