Icahn's bigger Lions Gate stake raises questions

Tue Oct 21, 2008 6:45pm EDT
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By Sue Zeidler

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Carl Icahn has increased his stake in Lions Gate Entertainment to 9.2 percent from 3.7 percent, raising fresh questions on Tuesday about the activist shareholder's plans for the independent movie and TV studio.

Icahn said in a regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday that he spent $86.3 million to acquire the additional shares in Lions Gate, the studio behind "W" and the "Saw" horror film franchise. Icahn's affiliates now own about 10.8 million shares of the company.

The company's shares closed down 6 cents, or 0.8 percent, at $7.31 on Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Like many other media companies in recent weeks, Lions Gate has seen its shares decline amid turmoil on Wall Street, and some analysts believe Icahn may just be bargain shopping.

Icahn has been a shareholder in Lions Gate for three years, according to company spokesman Peter Wilkes.

"We've had a very open and constructive dialog. Our senior management team has a good relationship with him. We welcome his input, which is always very perceptive. He has a great track record for recognizing undervalued investments," said Wilkes.

Activist shareholder Icahn recently sought unsuccessfully to oust Yahoo! Inc Chief Executive Jerry Yang to pave the way for a merger with Microsoft Corp.

He also tried two years ago to oust former Chief Executive Richard Parsons from his position at Time Warner Inc and break up the media company. Parsons remains Time Warner's chairman.   Continued...

<p>Investor Carl Icahn speaks at the Wall Street Journal Deals &amp; Deal Makers conference, held at the New York Stock Exchange, June 27, 2007. REUTERS/Chip East</p>