Icahn threatens to sue Lions Gate

MUMBAI: A day after Lions Gate Entertainment made a defensive move that endangers the investor‘s long-running crusade to take over the studio, Carl Icahn has threatened to sue it.

Last Tuesday, as part of a complex debt-for-equity swap, Lions Gate issued new shares to its second-largest shareholder, Mark Rachesky that increased his holdings to around 29 per cent from 20 per cent. The action diluted the equity of all shareholders, including Icahn, whose stake fell to just over 33 per cent from nearly 38 per cent.

Rachesky, a former employee of Icahn‘s, is on Lions Gate‘s board.

Icahn has contended that the stock deal violates an agreement he and Lions Gate made for a 10-day truce that ended at midnight last Monday. Although Lions Gate announced the stock deal on Tuesday after the expiration of the agreement, Icahn and his lawyers said that they were going to look at whether the company had agreed to the debt-for-equity swap with Rachesky during the detente.

In a letter to Icahn dated 9 July outlining the truce, Lions Gate vice chairman Michael Burns had said that during the 10-day period, his studio would not "issue, agree to issue or authorize or propose the issuance of any securities to ... any member of its board of directors or their affiliates."

"Not only has Lions Gate‘s board diluted the company‘s shareholders in an attempt to entrench themselves, but it has violated the agreement it made with us, which among other things prohibited Lions Gate from issuing stock during this period," commented Icahn.

Icahn said that he also intends to litigate against Lions Gate‘s recently adopted "poison pill," which would make it difficult for him to accumulate more shares. The investor successfully persuaded regulators in Canada, where the company is legally based, to throw out a previous poison pill.

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