Billionaire increases investment to 16.9%

Carl Icahn has remained on the prowl for Lionsgate, boosting his stake Wednesday to 16.9% from 15.9%, according to a regulator filing.

The billionaire hasn’t indicated specific intentions toward the mini-major, but ownership of more than 20% could cause a default on Lionsgate’s $340 million revolving credit line under the company’s change of control provisions.

Icahn disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that he had acquired 1.06 million shares at prices between $5.26 and $5.29 a share. The Wednesday purchase came a day after Icahn disclosed he had acquired 389,400 Lionsgate shares since last Friday.

Shares of Lionsgate jumped 9% to $5.60 in after-hours trading Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange after declining 9¢ during the regular session.

Icahn’s been critical of Lionsgate management over the use of its revolving credit line for its $255 millon purchase of the TV Guide network and websites and has urged the mini-major to cut costs.

Earlier this year, the company refused to give a board seat to Icahn, and it recently agreed to sell half of the TV Guide assets to investors led by JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Allen Shapiro. Lionsgate cut 38 jobs at TV Guide last week along with eliminating 45 jobs in March and 41 slots in November.

Icahn currently holds 19.62 million shares, nearly double the 10.8 million held at the start of the year. He’s the second-largest shareholder after Mark Rachesky, a former Icahn associate who supports management and who increased his holding in March to just short of 20%.

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