Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. said Thursday that its board had decided to adopt a "neutral" stance toward a $325 million bond tender offer from billionaire investor Carl Icahn, but warned that a change in control of the company could cause a debt default.

Icahn, who controls 14.5 percent of Lions Gate shares, earlier this month launched a tender offer to buy convertible notes issued by the Santa Monica film and television studio. Were he to buy the debt and convert it all into equity, his stake would double to least 28 percent.

Lions Gate, which is incorporated in Canada but has its main operations here, said its board believes that if Icahn came to own more than 20 percent of the company, it could constitute a change in control that could result in default and accelerated payment obligations on another credit facility.

Prior to the company's statement, Lions Gate shares closed down 11 cents, or 2 percent, to $5.41 on the New York Stock Exchange, but rose 2 percent in after-market trading.

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