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Carl Icahn's roar for Lions Gate grows louder

February 25, 2009 | 12:08 pm

Icahn

Activist shareholder Carl Icahn is tightening his grip on Lions Gate Entertainment, revealing for the first time that he may seek board seats to increase his influence over the company’s Santa Monica movie and TV studio, according to a recent regulatory filing.

There is speculation that Icahn, who just upped his stake to 14.3%, will look to put son Brett on the board. The 29-year-old, who works closely with his father at Icahn Partners, has been the point person between the investment firm and the management of Lions Gate led by Chief Executive Jon Feltheimer and Vice Chairman Michael Burns.Ctlogosmall

Although the two executives have so far had a good working relationship with Icahn, according to a person close to the investor, the billionaire is also known to push for changes if a company continues to stumble badly. Lionsgate stock recently posted poor fiscal third-quarter results due to the weak performance of its movies. That said, over the weekend, the studio had the top-grossing movie at the box office when “Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail” debuted with $41 million in ticket sales.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week, Icahn said he may seek to add members to Lions Gate’s board either by expanding the board or by “removing individuals." He also said that such an action could occur at Lions Gate’s next annual shareholders meeting, typically the second week of September, or  a “special" meeting could be called earlier.

Brett’s name first emerged in a story this morning posted online by the New York Post.

In a brief phone interview Wednesday, Brett Icahn declined to comment on any moves that his father is making on Lions Gate, including whether he will request a board seat. He acknowledged that the Icahns are in close contact with  Feltheimer and Burns. “Absolutely, we’ve talked to management before,” he said.

-- Claudia Eller

Photo: Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

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