Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer reaped the benefit from a year when his company cashed in on hits including The Hunger Games and the Twilight saga: His compensation rose 95.3% to $12.6M according to the company proxy out today. (The package: …
Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer Makes $12.6M In Fiscal 2013, +95%, But Vice Chair Michael Burns Does Even Better
Lionsgate’s Michael Burns On Staying Nimble, Getting Into The Jennifer Lawrence Business: Produced By Conference
Freelance writer Cari Lynn is a Deadline contributor based in Los Angeles.
Lionsgate has had a very good year and Vice Chairman Michael Burns, speaking today at the PGA’s Produced By conference, attributes this to staying nimble, embracing social media and banking on Jennifer Lawrence — all of which he says they’ll continue to do. The studio’s biggest hit The Hunger Games hit $400 million domestically this weekend. “The dream of any studio is to have franchises,” he said, looking to the opening of Hunger Games in China on 60 to 70 Imax screens. He’s also banking on the sequel to do even more since the book trilogy is catching on internationally. “We mitigate our risk with foreign pre-sales,” he says. Russia is also becoming a big market. “Several years ago, if someone had said Russia would be a giant territory, I’d have said, ‘have you been smoking weed?’ It was the same with China.” But asked if Lionsgate was going to move into worldwide distribution, the answer was a definitive No. “English-speaking is a place we like.” Foreign can be “too difficult. In some countries, for example, we can’t fire or hire people.”
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
Lionsgate vice chairman Michael Burns appeared on CNBC this morning for a fairly wide-ranging interview that touched on the indie studio’s flirtation with Summit Entertainment, how it enjoys being a pure-play content creator and distributor, its slate, and how much it loves Netflix.
Welcome to the real-life game of Survivor: Wall Street. Lionsgate management tonight is trying to outwit, outplay, and outlast Carl Icahn before he effects a hostile takeover of the movie/TV studio for his son Brett. Lionsgate tonight announced it’s putting into place a “Shareholder Rights Plan” — i.e. a poison pill defense — to cap Icahn at 38% of its stock (he is currently at 37.9%) so he can’t do a “creeping bid” through open market purchases like he did today or private market transactions. ”If he wants control of the Company, he should make a bid that is fair to all shareholders along the lines of a permitted bid described in the press release below,” a studio insider tells me.
Today, Icahn’s stake rose to 37.9%, or 44.8M shares, of Lionsgate. With 12+% more stock, he can become its majority stockholder. And then Lionsgate’s 12-member board, and the studio’s management team of Jon Feltheimer and Michael Burns, all have a target on their backs. Icahn’s $7 a share tender offer expired at midnight Wednesday, and left him with a 33.9% stake in Lionsgate. (Icahn Now Owns 33.9% Of Lionsgate) Today, he acquired an additional 4% more of the company by buying on the open market. Lionsgate’s immediate reaction was effectively to enact a poison pill defense. But it enacted a poison pill months ago — to prevent Icahn from accumulating over 20% of Lionsgate stock through his tender offer — and Canadian regulators nixed that measure. Can that happen again?
Here is tonight’s Lionsgate statement:
SANTA MONICA, Calif., and VANCOUVER, British Columbia, July 1, 2010 — Lionsgate (the “Company”) today announced that its Board of Directors has adopted a Shareholder Rights Plan that is designed to encourage the fair and equal treatment of Lionsgate’s shareholders in connection with any initiative to acquire effective control of the Company.
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 …
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 …