Carl Icahn Launches Website to Justify Proxy Battle for Lionsgate Control
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?”