In a series of surprise moves, corporate raider Carl Icahn broke off talks with Lions Gate Entertainment over gaining seats on its board, offered to buy up all of Lions Gate's debt for around $325 million, then, in an interview with today's (Friday) Los Angeles Times, blasted the company's recent $250-million acquisition of the TV Guide cable network and TVGuide.com as reckless and accused the company of maintaining excessive overhead. According to reports, the talks broke down over Lions Gate's insistence that, in return for two seats on its board, Icahn agree to a standstill agreement preventing him from acquiring a larger stake in the company. He currently owns about a 15-percent stake and his former investment chief, Mark Rachesky owns about a 20-percent stake. "After spending all that time negotiating, I think it was shortsighted on their part," Icahn told the Times. According to several reports, Icahn has been maneuvering to install his 29-year-old son Brett on the board. At one point in the negotiations, according to the reports, Lions Gate offered to permit Brett Icahn to participate in board meetings as an observer (i.e., without a vote) and become a full-fledged member of the board when shareholders hold their annual meeting in September. Instead, Icahn is expected to ally with Rachesky and other shareholders to propose a dissident slate of directors at the September meeting. The developments sent shares of the company sliding more than 5 percent Thursday, despite the fact that it currently is reaping a bonanza at the box office with the low-budget film Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail , which has earned $78 million at the box office in three weeks.

13/05/2009