Tags: Icahn | Rachesky | lions | gate | co-chair

Icahn Nemesis Becomes Lions Gate Co-Chair

Friday, 16 Sep 2011 11:20 AM

Mark Rachesky, the former Carl Icahn protege who thwarted his former boss' attempt to take over Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., has become the movie studio's co-chairman.

Rachesky sided with management in a board room battle with Icahn that lasted more than two years. Rachesky had the second largest holding in the company, but after Icahn agreed to back off and sell his shares, Rachesky's stake has grown to a leading 37.4 percent.

The disclosure was made in a securities filing on Thursday.

Jon Feltheimer, Lions Gate's chief executive officer, was reappointed as the other co-chairman of the board.

Lions Gate shares rose 12 cents, or 1.7 percent, to close at $7.08 on Thursday. Shares are down about 6 percent since Aug. 30, when Icahn said he was selling almost his entire stake in Lions Gate for $7 apiece.

Icahn began rapidly building his stake in Lions Gate in early 2009 and then entered his usual pattern of activism -- demanding board seats, questioning management decisions, buying up debt and urging shareholders to sell to him.

The company's board hunkered down, adopted a poison pill to thwart the hostile takeover and sided with large shareholder allies like Rachesky. Icahn's lawsuits failed to overturn the company's defenses. Unable to drive up the value of his shares and increasingly preoccupied with other investments, Icahn decided to move on.

Lions Gate is based in Vancouver, Canada, but operates out of Santa Monica, Calif. It has produced hit television shows such as "Mad Men" and "Weeds." It said Thursday that it finished principal photography on the movie "The Hunger Games," a film adaptation of the best-selling novel by Suzanne Collins that will hit theaters next year.


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