Editor's Note: Carl Icahn late Tuesday extended his offer to buy outstanding Lions Gate shares until Dec. 10 from his last expiration date of this Thursday.
Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. on Monday urged shareholders to vote for its board nominees at this month’s annual meeting, rather than a rival slate that dissident shareholder Carl Icahn proposed over the weekend.
Carl Icahn, who has accumulated nearly 33 percent of shares, proposed five director nominees, including Chris McGurk, a former Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. chief operating officer who has been advising the billionaire investor in his attempted hostile takeover of the company. Icahn asked investors to withhold support for the company’s five nominees, including Co-Chairman Harald Ludwig and director Mark Rachesky, with whom the studio collaborated to reduce Icahn’s percentage of shares outstanding from 38 percent though an equity-for-debt swap in July.
“Your board and management team strongly believe that Lions Gate's results over the past year underscore the success of its strategy,” Lions Gate said in a letter mailed to shareholders. “On the other hand, the Icahn Group has not articulated a vision, much less a strategy, for Lions Gate regarding how it would improve on these results and its nominees provide no further clarity on the critical issue of leading Lions Gate into the future.”
Lions Gate, which has its corporate headquarters in Vancouver, British Columbia, but its studio in Santa Monica, has set its annual meeting for Dec. 15 in Los Angeles. Lions Gate re-nominated its board, including Vice Chairman Michael Burns and Director G. Scott Paterson, but not Brian Tobin, who is leaving at the end of his term. The company has nominated Frank Giustra, chief executive of Fiore Financial Corp., to replace him.
Icahn, who is continuing his $7.50-a-share tender offer for control of the company, said in a Friday regulatory filing that his other nominees are Jay Firestone, chief executive of Canadian production company Prodigy Pictures; Michael Dornemann, a former chief executive of German entertainment company Bertelsmann Entertainment.; Daniel A. Ninivaggi, president of Icahn's investment firm; and Harold T. Shapiro, a past Princeton University president.
Shares were down 10 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $7.34 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
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