Carl Icahn Launches Website to Justify Proxy Battle for Lionsgate Control

12:47 PM PST 12/06/2010 by Etan Vlessing

SaveLionsgate.com went live Monday in an effort to lobby the studio's shareholders to vote for Icahn's board nominees Dec. 14.

TORONTO -- Carl Icahn has gone online to justify his proxy battle for control of Lionsgate Entertainment.

The billionaire investor launched the website SaveLionsgate.com on Monday to lobby the mini-studio’s shareholders to vote for his slate of rebel board nominees at a Dec. 14 AGM in Los Angeles.

Icahn’s online arguments against Lionsgate’s current senior management and directors include recalling a “sweetheart” debt-for-equity swap on July 20 between Michael Burns, vice chairman of Lionsgate, and major shareholder Mark Rachesky.

“Through the years I have seen many transgressions of corporate governance, but they all pale in comparison to what has taken place during a week in mid-July 2010 at Lionsgate,” Icahn states.

The behind-the-scenes debt exchange, which raised Rachesky’s stake in Lionsgate while reducing Icahn’s holding, “could be the basis of a great business movie on the abuses of shareholders in corporate America,” the activist shareholder wrote.

“Lionsgate has first right to the script,” he added.

Icahn’s new website also includes a report by investment bank Salem Partners LLC into “misconceptions” surrounding the value of Lionsgate’s film library and cash flows.

And a third report compares Icahn’s proxy slate to Lionsgate’s own slate of incumbent directors to be voted on at the upcoming AGM.

Of the current Lionsgate boardroom, Icahn writes: “These are our directors.  They are supposed to be safeguarding our assets. Shareholders, would you want these guys running your family business, let alone Lions Gate?”

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