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In Other News: Lionsgate/Icahn, Spidey’s Fall Guy, Judith Miller, James Franco And Ailing Borders

The sharp elbowing between Lionsgate and Carl Icahn takes another turn in the courtroom. The Wall Street Journal reports that Lionsgate filed in court to force Icahn to disclose any confidential merger agreements he made with MGM. This continues Lionsgate’s assertion that Icahn was pushing for a merge between Lionsgate and MGM while lambasting Lionsgate management for exploring the same scenario. Lionsgate’s desire for transparency extended to an ask that Icahn fess up about a side deal he might have made with Mark Cuban to sell his stake. That info–which reportedly came from Girls Gone Wild kingpin Joe Francis–was refuted by Cuban, who told WSJ that if there was any questionable offer involved in the equation, it came when Lionsgate co-chairman Michael Burns made a third-party offer to buy his shares for more than whatever Icahn was willing to pay…

Christopher Tierney, the 31-year old actor/dancer who fell 30 feet and was badly hurt in a preview performance of Broadway’s Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, gave his first interview last night to Gotham’s WCBS-TV local news. Watch below as he describes an ordeal that included the following inventory of broken bones: 4 ribs, 3 vertebra, scapula, elbow, and the back of his head. It’s good to see Tierney moving around and even enthused about possibly returning to the show. But how’s that dancer’s body, full of screws and rods, going … Read More »

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Lionsgate Wins: Icahn Lawsuit Dismissed And Stake Drops From 38% To 33.5%

BREAKING: In the latest development in Carl Icahn’s attempt to take over Lionsgate and merge its assets with MGM, a Supreme Court judge in British Columbia has dismissed Icahn’s lawsuit to thwart a Lionsgate de-leveraging move on July 20 that took $100 million in debt off the books and converted it into equity, which was bought by shareholder John Kornitzer, who is loyal to the existing Lionsgate brass. In a separate third party transaction, Kornitzer sold those shares to Mark Rachesky, who is on the Lionsgate board and firmly behind current management. That move pushed Icahn’s 38% stake in the company back to 33.5%, and increase Rachesky’s stake from 19% to 29%. Icahn can still gain more shares, as his $7.50 per share tender offer has been extended until November 12. But his 33.5% stake isn’t enough to win a proxy fight.

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Lionsgate Sues Carl Icahn, Says He Was Playing A “Double Game”

Lionsgate has sued its biggest shareholder Carl Icahn, claiming he publicly opposed a merger between the company and MGM then gummed up the process until he could profit substantially from a potential marriage. Lionsgate claims Icahn publicly said he would oppose the merger, only to turn around and secretly buy up a large stake in MGM’s debt…and then push for the merger. ”It turns out that Icahn was misleading Lionsgate and its shareholders all along,” the lawsuit, filed in New York, says. And that “recent developments indicate he was playing a double game. Icahn opposed a merger not because it was bad for Lionsgate but because it was good – so good in fact that he wanted to postpone it until he could buy up as much of both companies as he could.” The suit also says that, “While urging Lionsgate shareholders to support his takeover campaign to ensure that Lionsgate did not pursue what he called a ‘delusional’ MGM transaction, Icahn was quietly amassing a huge position in MGM debt with the undisclosed intention of reaping profits from both sides in an eventual merger.” All of this comes one day before the voting deadline on a proposed prepackaged bankruptcy plan that would see Spyglass Entertainment’s Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum take over the studio. Just this week, Icahn redoubled his efforts to buy up even more MGM debt in preparation for a Lionsgate merger, so the big unknown is how any … Read More »

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Miramax Putting Together Exec Team

The long-running drama of MGM should play out by tomorrow when creditors decide whether or not to embrace a restructuring package that puts Spyglass partners Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber in control or instead give the MGM assets to Carl Icahn and Lionsgate. Elsewhere, Miramax Films, the other endless custody battle, is starting to come together. Reports have former News Corp exec Mike Lang in talks to become CEO, and MGM television coprexy Jim Packer also in discussions to take a post. All this is contingent on the sale of the company by Disney to Filmyard Holdings that takes place at year’s end. That purchase is backed by Ron Tutor and Colony Capital.

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Carl Icahn and Lionsgate Redouble Efforts To Buy Up MGM Debt To Thwart Spyglass

Mike Fleming

Carl Icahn is now offering 50 cents on the dollar for MGM debt in an attempt to bolster his position before creditors vote Friday on a reorganization plan that puts Spyglass partners Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber in the driver’s seat of the debt-hobbled studio. Icahn had previously been offering 45 cents on the dollar for debt, and the new offer comes with the stipulation that debt holders vote against the Spyglass offer. Lionsgate brass recently came out with an impassioned speech on why a Lionsgate-Icahn deal was better for creditors than the Spyglass plan which is half a year in the making. Considering how bitter the battle has been between Icahn and Lionsgate brass as he’s tried to take over the minimajor, doesn’t it sound like that couple you know, the one that is fighting constantly and decides that if they just went ahead and had a baby, everything would be perfect? MGM, which watched Mary Parent exit as its pic chief after she was stymied in her efforts to create a production slate for the Lion, needs a steady hand and many feel that the Spyglass guys would provide it. The prepackaged bankruptcy with Birnbaum and Barber has never been viewed as a permanent solution. It has always been viewed by insiders as “kicking the can down the road.” Bolder plays with an outside suitor like Lionsgate is necessary later on, but it doesn’t necessarily have to … Read More »

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Carl Icahn Makes Another Offer To Buy Up Even More MGM Debt

Carl Icahn has made another offer to MGM lenders in hopes of thwarting the prepackaged bankruptcy plan and Spyglass deal. He’s now offered to buy $1.6 billion in debt at a premium price of 53 cents on the dollar; last week, he offered to buy $963 million in debt. The offer expires Friday — the voting deadline for the bankruptcy/Spyglass plan that would put Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum in charge. On Monday, Lionsgate sent a letter to MGM proposing that a Lionsgate-MGM merger, which Icahn now supports, could save about $100 million annually and increase revenues. If Icahn indeed manages to buy up the $1.6 billion, the total amount he would own would give him a majority of the debt. The Spyglass plan would give lenders 95% ownership of the company; a Lionsgate merger would give creditors a 55% equity stake.

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Lionsgate Says Merger With MGM Would Save $100 Million A Year

In a letter sent to MGM on Monday, Lionsgate said its proposed merger with the studio would amount to $100 million in annual savings while boosting cash flow by $120 million over five years. Documents were also filed with the SEC. Among the details of the proposed merger: The new company would lead to a reduction in staff of about 175 people, or 17% of the combined workforce of the two companies. And a merger between MGM and Lionsgate would lead to the production of 16 movies per year. MGM’s board faces a Friday deadline to vote on a proposed prepackaged bankruptcy plan in which Spyglass Entertainment’s Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum would be put in charge. Under that scenario, creditors would own 95% of the studio’s equity. The Lionsgate proposal gives MGM creditors 55% of the equity. Last week, Carl Icahn, who supports the Lionsgate plan, offered to buy another $963 million of MGM’s debt.

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Icahn Makes Offer To Buy More MGM Debt To Expedite Merger

Calling the proposed Spyglass plan a “presciption for disaster,” Carl Icahn on Thursday offered to buy another $963 million of MGM’s debt. He already owns around $500 million of it, so the sum would make him one of MGM’s largest creditors – with a stake of around 37%. Pending the offer, he would then be in a good position to approve a merger between Lionsgate and the studio, one he now supports. Some of MGM’s creditors are pushing hard for that prepackaged bankruptcy plan that would instead see Spyglass’ Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum come in and run the studio. As a condition of his offer, Icahn said anyone selling to him must vote against the Spyglass plan; a vote is scheduled for Oct. 29. Icahn also stated on Thursday: “This is the critical decision point for MGM lenders, yet we are being rushed into an extraordinary Prepackaged Plan with limited information and input, on a “hurry up basis” that frustrates any dissent. I hope to defeat this “rush to judgment.”

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Lionsgate, Carl Icahn Set Sights On MGM

Below is Carl Icahn’s statement from this morning expressing his support for a proposed Lionsgate/MGM merger. Late Monday, Lionsgate sent a proposal to MGM expressing support of a ”business combination” after what it called “detailed” discussions with Icahn. All of this after rebuffing Icahn’s attempts for so long. This latest development comes just days after MGM  said it was planning a merger with Spyglass wherein Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum would be the new bosses.

“We are holders of significant positions in both Lions Gate stock and MGM debt. Today, Lions Gate has made a proposal to combine these two companies. We believe that this combination of Lions Gate and MGM would enhance value for all constituencies and we believe this proposal as submitted is far better for MGM holders than the current proposal to combine MGM with Spyglass. In addition, we also believe such a combination transaction would enhance the value of Lions Gate shares. However, we intend to continue to pursue our lawsuits regarding Lions Gate’s recent dilutive transaction with Mark Rachesky. Whether or not we prevail in those lawsuits, we intend to continue to support a combination of Lions Gate and MGM. Our support for this combination is conditioned on the combined company having satisfactory corporate governance provisions.”

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