Lions Gate Entertainment Corp and billionaire investor Carl Icahn have ended talks aimed at giving his investment firm representation on the board of the independent studio, according to a Wednesday statement from Icahn.
Icahn, whose firm has accumulated a 14 percent stake in the studio, based in Santa Monica and Vancouver, said in a regulatory filing last month that he might call a special shareholder meeting to elect new board members.
In Wednesday's release, however, Icahn said that so-called "standstill" talks had failed. They would have ended his accumulation of additional shares in exchange for Lions Gate installing his representatives on the 12-member board.
"Those discussions have been terminated, because agreement could not be reached concerning certain aspects of the standstill agreement that Lions Gate demanded as a condition to installing those board members," said the media statement.
Analysts now believe Icahn who has made billions by accumulating corporate shares and forcing changes aimed at maximizing shareholder value may launch a hostile proxy fight. Some believe Icahn may seek the studio's sale or at least seek to have Lions Gate sell its valuable film library.
"There's no doubt in my mind that he is posturing for some kind of strategic transaction to occur and the first step in that process may involve getting board seats," Richard Dorfman, managing director of Richard Alan Inc., which also holds Lions Gate shares, told Reuters.
A spokesman for Lions Gate was not immediately available for comment.
Lions Gate shares closed down 32 cents, or 6 percent on the New York Stock Exchange before Icahn's announcement. The stock is down 10 percent so far this year.
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