A day after Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. announced that it offered to buy Image Entertainment Inc. for as much as $93 million in stock, Image said the proposal was unsolicited and that it is not for sale. Image's shares settled up 47.3 percent to $4.42 on the news.
"Management believes that the value of the company today and in the future is far greater than what is being offered," Martin W. Greenwald, Image's president and chief executive officer, said in a statement Wednesday.
Still, Image's board of directors has appointed a special committee in order to evaluate and "respond objectively" to Lions Gate's offer "on its merits." Ira S. Epstein, chairman of the special committee, said, "The proposal will be given all the consideration that it deserves."
Late Tuesday in a regulatory filing, Santa Monica-based Lions Gate said it offered to pay 0.38 to 0.42 Lions Gate shares for each share of Image Entertainment. Based on Lions Gate's closing price Tuesday of $10.40 a share, the offer values each of Chatsworth-based Image Entertainment's shares at between $3.95 and $4.37 each, or between $84.1 million and $93 million overall.
The offer represents a premium of as much as 45.7 percent over Image Entertainment's closing price of $3 a share on Tuesday.
Lions Gate said in the filing that the acquisition would help broaden its film library and would add an important musical component to its business, increasing shareholder value. Besides owing films like "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," Image also owns the music distribution rights to the bands Moody Blues and Earth Wind and Fire, among others.
Lions Gate originally expressed its interest in acquiring Image in a letter sent to Image's board on Aug. 30. Image's board wrote back on Sept. 2, saying it was willing to discuss the merger. No meeting has yet been scheduled, Lions Gate said.
Lions Gate, a distributor of independent films such as "Monster's Ball," said it acquired 4 million shares of Image on Sept. 9 and entered into an agreement three days later to buy an additional 571,429 shares. Image said Wednesday that Lions Gate has acquired nearly 19 percent of its shares.
Image Entertainment, which buys, licenses, finances and produces music and film, has more than 2,600 exclusive DVD titles in domestic release. Lions Gate engages in the development, production, and distribution of feature films, television series and movies, , and animated programming, as well as the management of Canadian-based studio facilities.
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