Carl Icahn quits Blockbuster board

Leaves to comply with directorship guidelines

Five years ago when Blockbuster stock was near $10 a share, Carl Icahn successfully fought his way on to the video chain’s board of directors. According to a filing Monday, Icahn has quit, with the stock trading at just 48 cents.

Icahn said he left to comply with guidelines from Institutional Shareholder Services that dictate how many directorships he should hold.

Icahn persuaded shareholders to put him on the board with Strauss Zelnick and Edward Bleier during a proxy battle in 2005 marked by tough criticism of then-CEO John Antioco.

Antioco left Blockbuster in 2007, and Zelnick and Bleier still are directors. The CEO is Jim Keyes, who was CEO of 7-Eleven when that company was sold and taken private.

Reflected in the decimation of its own stock price and the possibility that Movie Gallery again could go bankrupt, Blockbuster is facing massive competition from Netflix and Redbox. In regard to the latter, Blockbuster said it just installed another 100 DVD kiosks, for a total of 2,500, compared with more than 22,000 for Redbox so far.

Icahn’s other entertainment-related holdings include Take-Two Interactive Software. Zelnick, that video game company’s executive chairman, reportedly just told Icahn that three of the eight board members will quit and Icahn may choose their replacements. Icahn also owns a chunk of Lionsgate Entertainment but has for now given up an effort to gain board seats there.
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