Shares in Lions Gate Entertainment jumped 10 percent to $7.14 Tuesday -- catapulted not so much by news that its latest movie release, The Last Exorcism , which it acquired for $1 million, had earned 20 times that amount on its opening weekend, but by word that Carl Icahn had renewed his takeover bid for The Company. This time Icahn is offering $7.50 a share to stockholders -- but with two big caveats. The first is that a Canadian court nullifies a complicated deal with Lions Gate board member Mark Rachesky that increased Rachesky's stake in the company to 29 percent while reducing Icahn's to 33 percent. The second is that enough shareholders come forward to enable Icahn to control the company with at least 51 percent of its stock. Icahn's timing puzzled some analysts, coming as it does after the company's Lionsgate film studio turned out two hits in August (the first being the Sylvester Stallone action flick, The Expendables ). Icahn has been urging the company to get out of the movie business, which he regards as excessively risky. Icahn's offer also follows big wins for the Lionsgate-produced Mad Men at Sunday's Emmy Awards. Reuters quoted Wunderlich Securities analyst Matthew Harrigan as saying "They're clearly having some success at the box office. [Icahn] was trying to be very coercive in a circumstance where the economy was soft and the market was soft."

01/09/2010