No sign of Icahn yet as Lions Gate sets annual meeting [Updated]
Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.'s annual meeting so far looks like a much less dramatic affair this year than last.
In December 2010, dissident shareholder Carl Icahn ran a slate of five candidates for the board of directors in hopes of shaking up management at the film and television studio behind Tyler Perry's movies and "Mad Men": He has long criticized the management for overspending and strategic mistakes. After a dramatic public battle that also included offers to buy out other shareholders, Icahn's candidates lost. That left the billionaire corporate raider with no board representation for a company in which he is the largest shareholder, with a stake that stands at 32.6%.
On Friday, Lions Gate announced plans for its next annual meeting, which will be held Sept. 13 in Toronto (the company has headquarters in Santa Monica but is legally domiciled in Canada).
Notably missing from the proxy statement that accompanied the meeting announcement: Any signs of activism by Icahn. The company's 12 current directors were all re-nominated and are currently running unopposed. Icahn has not nominated any candidates of his own.
[Update, 2:57 p.m.: Later Friday, Icahn filed a form with the Securities and Exchange Commission revealing that he has acquired 702,877 Lions Gate shares this week. That brings his stake in the company up to 33.1%.]
After last year's meeting, Daniel Ninnivaggi, president of Icahn's investment fund, hinted that there might be more shareholder activism in 2011. "The next shareholders meeting is only 10 months away," he noted.
Since then, however, Icahn has lost legal actions he took against Lions Gate in New York and Vancouver. Had he won, that would have increased his stake and made it easier for him to elect his own board candidates.
Icahn can still nominate board candidates at any point leading up to or even at the Sept. 13 meeting. He did not respond to a request for comment.
-- Ben Fritz
Photo: Carl Icahn. Credit: Mark Lennihan / Associated Press