Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. on Wednesday once again rebuffed efforts by billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn to pressure the movie studio and TV programmer to accept his buyout bid.
This time, Icahn said he received approval from the Minister of Canadian Heritage, under the Investment Canada Act, for his $7-per-share cash offer for all shares of Lions Gate he doesn't already own. Icahn has a nearly 19 percent stake.
Lions Gate said Icahn's offer is "financially inadequate and coercive and is not in the best interests of Lions Gate, its shareholders and other stake holders."
Since Icahn made his buyout offer in March, shareholders owning less than 4 percent of outstanding shares have accepted it, Lions Gate said.
As part of getting the Canadian nod, Icahn pledged to maintain Maple Pictures under Canadian control and keep Lions Gate in Canada. Lions Gate is based in Vancouver, Canada, and operates out of Santa Monica, Calif.
Icahn also pledged to maintain or boost the company's film production efforts in Canada.
Icahn has been trying to take control of Lions Gate for more than a year. He believes the company can be run more efficiently.
The stock is trading at late 2008 levels. Shares of Lions Gate rose 5 cents to $7.05 in afternoon trading.
Lions Gate was behind the Oscar-winning movie "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' By Sapphire." It also owns the TV Guide network and has produced such TV shows as "Weeds" and "Nurse Jackie."
Icahn said his tender offer to buy Lions Gate shares ends on June 16. He said the offer price will not change, and the offer deadline will not be extended again. However, there will be a 13-day window starting June 17 for additional shares to be tendered at the same $7 per share price.
Icahn also ballyhooed Lions Gate's warning that his purchase of the 3.7 percent of outstanding shares that have been tendered would result in defaults of debt agreements.
He said if a default is triggered, it won't constitute a condition allowing a withdrawal of his offer or cause him not to purchase the shares tendered.
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