3 Min Read
* Says full-year earnings up 50 pct from earlier guidance
* Shares rise 2 pct in premarket trading
* Icahn says new numbers are "meaningless" (Adds analyst, Icahn statements on CNBC; changes dateline, previous NEW YORK)
LOS ANGELES, April 29 (Reuters) - Lions Gate Entertainment Corp LGF.N posted better-than-expected preliminary results on Thursday as it continued fending off a hostile $7 a share bid from billionaire investor Carl Icahn.
The results strengthened the studio's hand against the bid, considered by many as too low, analysts said. Icahn, meanwhile, suggested he might wage a proxy battle against the company.
Icahn, whose offer expires on Friday, told business newstelevision channel CNBC that the revised numbers were meaningless because they lacked information such as what the studio spent for films.
Icahn was not immediately available for comment.
On CNBC, he said he considers his bid to be "fair" and that he would not give up, even if shareholders fail to take him up on his tender offer.
"As far as I'm concerned, if we don't get it, we don't get it, and that's life. We'll probably have a proxy fight," he said, adding there were other "avenues" to pursue.
Independent TV and film studio Lions Gate, maker of the "Saw" and "Tyler Perry" movies, said its preliminary fiscal-year 2010 adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization would exceed $115 million. That's more than 50 percent better than the $75 million the company in February had said it expected.
"It's certainly a feather in the cap of management and could force Icahn's hand in raising his tender price," said David Miller, analyst with Caris & Co.
Lions Gate attributed the improved earnings to its television business, revenues from its record library and higher home entertainment revenues.
"It looks like Lions Gate's film segment had a $20 million profit, whereas I thought it would lose $10 million," said Alan Gould, analyst with Soleil Securities.
"I think $7 is too low. Our valuation is for $10 a share on a private market value," Gould said.
Lions Gate will report its fiscal 2010 full-year and fourth-quarter results on June 1.
Shares in Lions Gate rose 8 cents or 1.16 percent to $6.95 a share in afternoon trading.
Separately, Lions Gate said on Wednesday it would postpone its special shareholder meeting until May 12, as it wages a court battle to preserve its poison pill defenses.
The company asked a British Columbia appeals court for permission to appeal a British Columbia Securities Commission decision Tuesday that voided the company's "poison pill," put in place to thwart Icahn's hostile takeover offer.
Icahn owns almost 19 percent of Lions Gate.
The poison pill defense was implemented by Lions Gate's board, without approval by shareholders, as a move against Icahn's bid, which expires on April 30, according to analysts. (Reporting by Sue Zeidler. Additional reporting by Elinor Comlay in New York. Editing by Robert MacMillan)