Lionsgate Vice Chairman Michael Burns had to disappoint analysts who wanted him to open up about the big question of the day for his company: What’s going on with its reported merger talks with Summit Entertainment? “I’m not going to talk about any specific deal,” he said at the UBS Annual Global Media and Communications Conference. He noted, though, that a consolidation of independent film and TV companies is “a natural thing to happen.” He assured the group that Lionsgate is only interested in deals that add to its value, and don’t require it to either issue stock or take on additional debt. “We’re looking to delever, not lever up,” he says.
With that out of the way, he spoke candidly about the company’s plans for next year where he says “you’ll see us steady state for the first time” cranking out about a dozen movies and about three new TV shows. He’s encouraged about a plan to develop a TV series for ABC based on The Lincoln Lawyer – and Charlie Sheen’s Anger Management. ”I’ve known Charlie a long, long time,” Burns said. “Our goal is to keep Charlie working, keep him healthy — and we have a great partner in FX.” Burns says that a series it’s developing for Read More »
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 »
UPDATE: Lionsgate has just issued a reaction (see below). It’s now officially a fight between white (LG’s) and gold (Icahn’s) proxy cards.
Carl Icahn today assembled his slate of 5 board members hoping to unseat Lionsgate’s current 5 board of directors – including the film/TV studio’s Vice Chairman Michael Burns — at the scheduled December 14th shareholders meeting in Los Angeles. (All those dinners where Burns attempted a rapprochement with Icahn obviously came to nothing.) It’s now confirmed that, as I previously reported, Icahn’s slate includes Chris McGurk, 53, the former MGM President and COO and Vice Chairman and Overture Films CEO, as well as filmmaker Jay Firestone, 54, a one-time vice chairman of Alliance Communications in Canada and founder of Fireworks Entertainment who is now head of Toronto-based Prodigy Pictures. Today Icahn revealed that also on Icahn’s list are: Dr. Michael Dornemann, 65, the former CEO of Bertelsmann Entertainment and an entertainment and marketing executive with more than 30 years of management consulting, corporate development, strategic advisory and media experience who is now on the board of Columbia Music; Daniel Ninivaggi, 46, who is President of Icahn Enterprises; and Dr. Harold Shapiro, 75, Princeton university’s 18th president until 2001 and currently a professor of economics and public affairs there. Icahn wants them to replace Michael Burns, Harald Ludwig, G. Scott Paterson, Mark H. Rachesky, and Hardwick Simmons on the current Lionsgate board. Today’s Icahn proxy statement says:
“Given that Carl Icahn and the other Participants believe that the Company has not yet been able to, among other things,
… Read More »
The studio sees the glass as half full, putting out a statement that “66% of Lionsgate stockholders support management and rejected Carl Icahn’s $7-a-share tender offer. But after that offer expired last night, Carl Icahn now owns 33.9% of the Santa Monica movie and television studio which he’s been attempting to control for his son Brett through a hostile takeover. I’ve already reported that Lionsgate Vice Chairman Michael Burns flew to NYC last week to break bread with Icahn and discuss, among many topics, Lionsgate’s merger talks with MGM. But the rehetoric from both sides remains nasty. So can a negotiated settlement be reached before Icahn starts that promised expensive proxy fight prior to the studio’s annual shareolders meeting this September? the next news may well be Icahn’s announcement of a full slate of directors to replace Lionsgate’s board. here’s Lionsgate’s statement today:
At the completion of the Icahn Group’s offer, holders of over 66% of Lionsgate shares have rejected the Icahn Group’s offer, with only 2.1% of the outstanding shares being tendered into the offer during the subsequent offering period.
We want to take this opportunity to thank our shareholders. Lionsgate’s shareholders have repeatedly confirmed their support for the Board and management’s strategy to grow shareholder value by continuously rejecting the Icahn Group’s financially inadequate offer.
Our focus continues to be running the business to build value for all of our shareholders. As reflected in our strong fiscal 2010 results,
… Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Reliable sources tells me that Lionsgate vice chairman Michael Burns flew to NYC on Wednesday night to have dinner with Carl Icahn “to see if they could work together and avert a hostile takeover of the studio”. This is a very big deal because in recent months and weeks the two men have been sparring very publicly on CNBC. Or Icahn and Lionsgate management have been sending nasty letters to shareholders and even nastier news releases to the media about each other. I understand that Burns explained why Lionsgate is having merger talks with MGM. That may be the reason why Carl was not completely dismissive of the idea Friday – but not why he still slammed management for distracting from the studio’s problems. Remember, a proxy fight like the one Icahn has pledged to wage is a very expensive proposition. And now that Lionsgate stock has joined the Russell 2000 index and jumped past Carl’s $7-a-share tender offer, Icahn may have to offer at least $7.50 to control more than 32% of the studio. Thus making his hostile takeover still more pricey.