Icahn resumes Lionsgate battle


TORONTO -- Carl Icahn has resumed hostilities with Lionsgate.

The corporate raider on Tuesday morning launched yet another tender offer for outstanding stock in the mini-studio, this time at lower $6.50 per-share price.

Icahn conducted an earlier tender offer at $7.00 per-share that netted him a near-38% stake in Vancouver-based Lionsgate.

The latest offer follows Icahn on July 9 agreeing to back off on his hostile bid for control of Vancouver-based Lionsgate for ten days to jointly work on M&A deals.

Lionsgate in a statement said its board of directors will review the latest takeover bid, which is set to expire on August 25, unless extended or withdrawn.

The Icahn Group in a statement Tuesday said the tender offer is conditional on Lionsgate not engaging in M&A deals over $100 million in value, or issuing new stock in the company.

Shares in Lionsgate surged Tuesday morning by 42 cents, or 7%, to $6.45 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Icahn Group added that recent negotiations, likely between Lionsgate vice-chairman Michael Burns and Carl Icahn and son Brett, included possibly adding Icahn representatives to the company's board of directors "and certain acquisition possibilities."

Those are thought to include a merger with the ailing MGM studio, and the Miramax Films library.

While those discussions produced the 10-day temporary truce that started on July 9, "the Icahn Group determined that there were no immediate opportunities that would merit extension of the 10-day standstill period" beyond July 19.

Icahn then returned to familiar themes, including the claim that the current actions of Lionsgate's senior management make it unlikely company shareholders can "make their own determination on the future path of the company, including decisions to make a major acquisition."

The billionaire investor took particular exception to Lionsgate introducing a second poison-pill defense on July 1 after an earlier anti-takeover strategy was voided by British Columbia securities regulators.

Icahn also restated a promise to wage a costly proxy fight at Lionsgate's next shareholders meeting, likely in mid-September, to replace current senior management and the board of directors.

And the activist shareholder revisited Lionsgate triggering a debt default if more than 50% of its shares are acquired, and facing possible bankruptcy.

"The Icahn Group believes this is a problem of Lionsgate's own making -- had the board of directors not agreed to these controversial "poison put" provisions, the company would not now be facing this very difficult situation," Icahn's reps said.

Despite resuming its high-profit public dispute with Lionsgate, the Icahn Group left the door open to future discussions with the mini-studio or third parties "regarding possible future acquisitions."
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