BATTLE ENDS: Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. has reported that activist investor Carl Icahn has agreed to end his nearly two-year-old takeover bid, selling substantially all of his investment firm’s shares in the studio and settling outstanding litigation. The Santa Monica film and TV company, which has corporate headquarters in Vancouver, British Columbia, said that Icahn and his son Brett will sell up to 44.1 million shares. The settlement agreement calls for Lions Gate to buy about 11 million of those shares. Affiliates of MHR Fund Management LLC, an entity controlled by Lions Gate director Mark H. Rachesky, will purchase an additional 11 million shares. That will boost Rachesky’s stake to 51.2 million shares, making him the largest investor. Lions Gate said it will make arrangements with other entities to purchase the remaining 22 million shares. The purchase price was about 7 percent below the market price of $7.55. Lions Gate said the price is about the same as Icahn’s average cost for his 44 million shares, which were acquired over a period of months.
NEW COO: Real estate investment trust Public Storage has named Shawn Weidmann chief operating officer. The Glendale self-storage company said Weidmann also will hold the title of senior vice president. Before joining Public Storage, he was president of Teleflora LLC since 2006. He had responsibility for global operations including marketing, training and technology support for more than 18,000 member florists as well as service and technology centers. “During his tenure at Teleflora, Shawn drove profitable growth for three years running during the worst retail environment in decades while competitors were reporting declines,” Ronald L. Havner Jr., Public Storage chief executive, said in a statement.
WEDBUSH FINED: Wedbush Inc. and a former Wedbush broker have been ordered to pay an investor nearly $2.9 million over allegations that the broker stole from the customer’s account. The investor alleged that Debbie Saleh bought and sold annuities without consent to generate her commissions while draining his account at the L.A. investment firm run by Ed Wedbush. A three-person arbitration panel concluded that Saleh lied to investor Rick Cooper about the value of his investments, sent him false monthly statements and forged his signature on important documents. The Los Angeles Times reported that Saleh was barred from the securities industry in 2009 and could not be reached for comment and that the Wedbush firm declined to comment.
HUDSON TRADING: Hudson Pacific Properties Inc. will allow insiders and other buyers of restricted stock in previous private placements to begin trading up to $10.3 million worth of shares on the open market in coming months. Hudson Pacific, which has 33 million shares outstanding and a market cap of $475 million, said it would not be raising any money in the sales. The L.A. real estate investment trust, which owns office, media and entertainment properties across California, said the stock initially was issued in private placements May 3 and June 29 last year. The filing also covers about 2.6 million shares that the company would issue in exchange for units that some of its limited partners hold in the REIT’s operating partnership. Investors whose shares are covered in the registration include Farallon Capital Partners LP, the company’s largest
shareholder at 30 percent. Also listed as potential sellers are Chief Executive Victor Coleman, President Howard S. Stern and Glenborough Fund XIV LP.
CHINA MOVIE: DreamWorks Animation SKG has signed its first online distribution agreement in China, starting with its popular “Kung Fu Panda” film franchise. The Glendale film company will distribute the films on-demand in mainland China via the premium services and Hollywood Movie channel of Internet TV firm Youku.com. “Kung Fu Panda” and its sequel have grossed more than $1.25 billion in worldwide box office, and have been very popular with Chinese audiences, the companies said. Youku opened in December and has several competitors in the country. “We look forward to expanding our alignment with Hollywood studios in the future to offer even more compelling content,” Youku Chief Executive Victor Koo said in a statement. Financial terms were not announced.
ONLINE BUYBACK: ValueClick Inc.’s board has increased its repurchase authorization by $86 million to help offset dilution caused by the previously announced acquisition of a Chicago company that has closed. The Westlake Village online advertising company said that it had repurchased 3.4 million shares since Aug. 5. Boosting the authorization brings the total the company can spend to $100 million. ValueClick earlier this month announced that it would buy Dotomi, a Chicago intelligent-display marketing company in a deal valued at about $295 million. The company said it paid $148 million in cash and 7.1 million in shares.
BUYOUTS: Furniture maker Virco Manufacturing Corp. has offered early retirement and voluntary separation packages to about 1,050 employees in California and Arkansas to avoid layoffs. The Torrance company, which makes products for schools and other institutions, on Thursday said the offer is one of several initiatives to cut costs. Virco has seen slowing sales of school furniture purchases by districts facing budget cuts. Robert Dose, vice president of finance, said employees would be given a couple of weeks to make a decision, and declined to say how many positions would need to be eliminated in order to achieve the desired cost savings.
EARNINGS: UTi Worldwide Inc. reported net income of $22.9 million for the quarter ended July 31, compared with $18.9 million in the same period a year earlier. Revenue rose 13 percent to $1.3 billion.
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