Studio is unconcerned; until he gets 51 percent, it’s “business as usual”
Carl Icahn has received 12.5 percent of Lionsgate shares in his tender offer that expires at 8 p.m., the activist shareholder told multiple media outlets Wednesday.
Those shares, which include 5.4 percent tendered by Mark Cuban, would bring Icahn’s ownership up to 31 percent, up from the 19 percent he started with before his takeover attempt began in earnest.
Icahn’s position becomes substantially stronger at that level, but he’ll still have to wage a proxy fight for full control of the independent mini-major. It also falls short of the 33 percent he needed to exert internal control, such as vetoing acquisitions and mergers.
Individuals close to Lionsgate who spoke to TheWrap on condition of anonymity were nonchalant about Wednesday’s news. Their position: Until Icahn has 51 percent of Lionsgate, "it’s business as usual." And they don’t see a scenario where he’ll be able to grab that much of the company anytime soon.
TheWrap’s request to speak with Icahn was not immediately fulfilled Wednesday. A spokeswoman for Icahn declined to comment.
"I think it’s time to have the (annual shareholders’ meeting) as soon as possible to see who will run this company because a long, drawn-out proxy fight is obviously hurtful to the company," Icahn told the Wall Street Journal. "I also hope there can be a peaceful solution, and that no defensive tactics that would be harmful to the company are taken."
The company’s annual shareholders’ meeting is normally held in late summer.
In getting over 20 percent, Icahn could trigger an automatic debt default for Lionsgate, though top brass remains confident that it can secure waivers from the banks.
Lionsgate has steadfastly resisted Icahn’s attempts to gain control over a company he believes is chronically overspending. The company has consistently called Icahn’s efforts "coercive," fighting him at every step.
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