Lionsgate to discuss possible end with Icahn

Board believes Icahn's offer is 'inadequate, opportunistic'

Carl Icahn's bid to purchase Lionsgate for about $826 million remains "inadequate, opportunistic and coercive," but just in case it also is successful, the company will have enough cash on hand to pay its top five executives their severance.

That's the gist of a Monday regulatory filing from Lionsgate, which disclosed it has been in on-and-off discussions with Icahn since October 2008 and that the possibility of some sort of deal is indeed real -- if the terms are right.

And just in case these discussions result in termination because of a "change of control," $16 million will be set aside in a trust to ensure that severance payments be made to CEO Jon Feltheimer, vice chairman Michael Burns, co-COOs Steve Beeks and Joe Drake and general counsel Wayne Levin.

The executives need to know that the trust is there, say the board of directors, to "permit our senior management team to focus on Lionsgate's business rather than the continuing distractions of the offer and the views expressed by the Icahn Group."

Icahn has bid $7 a share for Lionsgate. That was about a 34% premium to where shares were trading in February, before Icahn's offer was known. Lionsgate dismisses that offer as too small.

The two entities have been going back and forth through statements made to the media, as well as in regulatory filings and letters to each other. Lionsgate, however, via Monday's filing, seems to indicate that serious, verbal negotiations have been lacking.

"The board believes that it would now be appropriate to respond to the Icahn Group's recent communications to determine whether there may be a basis on which to engage in negotiations and will do so today," the filing reads.