For over a year now, billionaire corporate raider Carl Icahn has been buying up shares of Lionsgate films in an incremental takeover. But the wait may be over: This morning, Icahn announced—to heck with slow moving progress—he wants all of Lionsgate, and now, please.
I haven’t followed the drama play by play, because let’s face it - it’s the same story over and over and over again. But I started watching Icahn last October when it became clear this battle would not end well for the mini-major.
Here’s a recap from a year ago, Feb 25, 2009 (notice how much hasn’t really changed):
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.
From this morning’s The Wrap:
By Dylan Stableford
Billionaire corporate raider Carl Icahn has upped his offer to Lionsgate, offering to acquire all of the studio’s outstanding shares.
Last week, Lionsgate rejected Icahn’s offer to acquire 13.2 million shares—about 30 percent of Lionsgate—for $6.00 per share, or $79,986,520.
The studio’s board of directors voted unanimously against the unsolicited offer, calling it “financially inadequate,” “coercive” and “not in the best interests of Lionsgate and its shareholders and other stakeholders.”
And yet, I bet Icahn is putting in his champagne order—another Jew takes over in Tinseltown.