Just when it appeared that corporate raider Carl Icahn and his onetime investment manager Mark Rachesky were uniting in an attempt to take over Lions Gate Entertainment, Rachesky has surprised observers -- possibly including Icahn himself -- by stating in a regulatory filing that he is "principally supportive" of the company's management "and their publicly stated strategies." Icahn, on the other hand, has been bitterly critical of Lions Gate management for racking up "excessive" overhead and for paying $255 million for the TV Guide Network, which, he said, "borders on recklessness." Since Rachesky and Icahn have had a lengthy business relationship, many observers had assumed that they would be allied in a takeover play. (BusinessInsider.com headlined, "Icahn's Former Lieutenant Stabs Him In Back.") Rachesky is the biggest single owner of Lions Gate stock, holding almost 20 percent of the total. Icahn owns 14.5 percent. But Rachesky is also friendly with Michael Burns, vice chairman of Lions Gate, who is now mobilizing shareholders who support the company's strategy. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times , Burns said, "We are doing all the things we should do to protect our shareholders and the value that has been created in this company by blocking and tackling and building an incredible foundation." Meanwhile, Rachesky said in his filing that he is changing his status in Lionsgate from "passive" to "active," may seek a seat on the board, and may put forth plans, including acquisition proposals, intended to enhance the value of the company's stock.
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