Has Lionsgate’s effort to sell 19.2M shares in the company owned by Carl Icahn been put “on hold,” as Reuters reported yesterday? The answer is: sort of, but not exactly. Yes, the company wanted to price the shares this week and hasn’t done so yet. Timing is important: Lionsgate is committed to pay Icahn $7 a share, and closed on Tuesday at $6.84. Still, the company has until October 18 to make the sale, and can price it almost at a moment’s notice. So Lionsgate is within the window to see if it can command a better price. That’s not a far-fetched idea. Its shares closed today at $7.02. If there’s no sale by the mid-October deadline, then Icahn simply hangs on to his shares — something that neither side seems to want.
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.
Lionsgate has recommended to shareholders that they spurn Carl Icahn’s latest offer to pay $7.50 for outstanding shares. The company just filed its Schedule 14D-9 Report. The report described a September 7 meeting of the board of directors, which unanimously rejected the offer and voted to recommend that shareholders do the same. The reasons included strings that Icahn attached to the offer, but also that Lionsgate management feels confident about recent momentum it has built with recent releases The Expendables and The Last Exorcism, both of which performed well in late August. The company also cited the surprising resilience of the film Kick-Ass, which has grossed $50 million domestic and $100 million worldwide and which just topped the DVD sales charts. Lionsgate also cited a record 26 Emmy nominations, including wins for Mad Men and Nurse Jackie, as reasons to feel bullish on the TV side. Not in the report was the week long meetings held by Lionsgate brass with directors for The Hunger Games, the first in a series of three Suzanne Collins novels that have the potential to be a game-changer for the indie, much the way that Twilight was for Summit Entertainment.
Icahn recently raised his share offer to its highest, after a starting bid of $6.50, which climbed to $7. The stock closed slightly down, at $7.14 per share.
Every Icahn move has deep reverberations inside the film/television studio whose management is increasingly paranoid about how their actions will be viewed by him. What a destabilizing situation. Now Carl Icahn’s hostile takeover attempt intensifies with his $7.50 a share unsolicited tender offer this morning. It expires October 22nd. Icahn said his new offer will only be valid if the extra shares that the company recently issued to Lionsgate director Mark Rachesky (who used to be Icahn’s investment adviser) are rescinded or converted into nonvoting stock. The film/TV mini-major, in a defensive move against Icahn, did a debt-for-equity swap in July to dilute his stake in the company. It issued 16.2 million new common shares to Rachesky, boosting his stake to 28.9%, while diluting Icahn’s stake to 33.5% from 37.9%.
Icahn has asked the Supreme Court of British Columbia to reverse the swap. Lionsgate told me just now that its annual shareholders meeting, usually scheduled for sometime in September, has been postponed until after October 12th. “The British Columbia Supreme Court, which is hearing Icahn’s litigation, asked us to delay the record date for the Annual Shareholders Meeting until after their October 12 hearing,” a source told me.
Here is Lionsgate’s response to Icahn’s new tender offer:
SANTA MONICA, Calif. and VANCOUVER, August 31, 2010 — Lionsgate today announced that it has received a revised unsolicited tender offer from Carl Icahn and certain of his affiliated entities (the “Icahn Group”) to acquire up to all of Lionsgate’s
Another nasty day in the Carl Icahn vs Lionsgate battle. This time, Icahn has made good on his threat to go to court to overturn the film/TV studio’s recent “scorched earth tactic” that diluted his stock holdings He’s referring to last week’s debt-for-equity swap involving major shareholders Mark Rachesky and John Kornitzer. The lawsuit was filed today in the New York State Supreme Court against Lionsgate, its board of directors, Rachesky, Kornitzer Capital Management and its principal John Kornitzer. Icahn wants an injunction to reverse the deal that bought and converted $100 million in senior notes to reduce Icahn’s stake in Lionsgate from 37.3% to 33.5%. “If allowed to stand, this scheme will insulate the directors and management from having to face a fair election at the upcoming annual meeting of Lionsgate’s shareholders,” Icahn said.
He also filed a Canadian petition in the Supreme Court of British Columbia about the manuever on Friday, while the British Columbia Securities Commission has scheduled a hearing about it on July 28th.
It was Lionsgate’s lastest attempt to thwart his hostile takeover of the mini-major and give it to his son Brett to run. Still pending is Icahn’s latest $6.50 a share tender offer for outstanding shares of the company, and his promise to wage a proxy fight over control of Lionsgate’s board at the September annual meeting.
So now Carl Icahn owns only 33.5% of the film and TV studio, and not the 37.9% he had as of yesterday. Nasty, nasty, nasty. Though it is interesting to see these two camps whack at each other as Icahn tries for a hostile takeover. Here’s how Lionsgate described what it did today:
SANTA MONICA, Calif., and VANCOUVER, British Columbia, July 20, 2010 – Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (NYSE: LGF) (the “Company”) announced that today it had completed a deleveraging transaction in which approximately $100 million of its senior subordinated notes were converted into common shares at an effective conversion price of $6.20 per share. The conversion price represented a 2.8% premium to Monday’s closing price of the Company’s common stock.
The transaction is a key part of the Company’s previously announced plan to reduce its total debt, as well as its nearer term maturities.
The transaction was effected by the Company’s wholly owned subsidiary Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. (“LGEI”) pursuant to the exchange of $36,009,000 in aggregate principal amount of its 3.625% Convertible Senior Subordinated Notes due 2025 and $63,709,000 in aggregate principal amount of 2.9375% Convertible Senior Subordinated Notes due 2024 in a private transaction. The notes were exchanged for new notes which were identical to the old notes but had an extended maturity date and extended put rights by two years and were immediately convertible at an initial
UPDATED: What came out of the 10-day cease fire between Carl Icahn and Lionsgate management? An offer by Icahn to buy the company for $6.50 a share. Considering that Icahn acquired over 30% of the company by offering $7 per share — Lionsgate management called that sum inadequate and urged shareholders to reject it — it seems unlikely this will lead to a deal.
Icahn’s firm said today there were no immediate opportunities that justified extending the “standstill period,” though it said discussions about a potential acquisition may continue in the future. Icahn’s side also reiterated that it intends to replace all or most of Lionsgate’s board of directors. The firm said recent actions taken by the company, like its adoption of a second poison pill measure after a previous one was struck down by Canadian regulators, convinced the firm that “it is extremely unlikely that the current management and board of directors of Lionsgate will allow shareholders of Lionsgate to make their own determination on the future path of the company, including decisions to make a major acquisition.”
Here’s the release just issued by Lionsgate and Icahn’s statement:
SANTA MONICA, CA, and VANCOUVER, BC, July 20, 2010 — Lionsgate today announced that it has received an unsolicited tender offer from Carl Icahn to acquire up to all of the common shares of Lionsgate for US$6.50 per share in cash. The offer is scheduled to expire at 8:00 p.m., New York City time, on August 25, 2010, unless extended or