Tendered shares fall from 7.4 million to 4.66 million

Carl Icahn’s making no progress in his hostile takeover attempt of Lionsgate, with a 37% decline in the number of shareholders supporting his bid over the past two weeks.

Icahn disclosed Friday that 4.66 million shares — or about 4% of the total shares — had been tendered for his $7 a share offer, compared with 7.4 million shares on May 10. The investor, who’s been in recent settlement talks with Lionsgate, also extended his offer for a third time Friday and set June 1 as the expiration date.

Shares of Lionsgate were down 9 cents to $6.75 in mid-session trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange. Most analysts expect that Icahn — who owns 18.8% of shares — will have to sweeten the offer to gain enough shareholder support to reach the 50.1% level.

Lionsgate had no comment while Icahn’s announcement about the extension of the offer, which had been due to expire Friday, included several blasts at Lionsgate management. He made no reference to the settlement talks, which were disclosed four days earlier.

Icahn and Lionsgates have been battling for more than a year, triggered by Icahn’s unmet desire for seats on the 12-member board plus his frustration over the stock price. Lionsgate’s portrayed the billionaire investor as an incompetent meddler while Icahn’s called for the ouster of Lionsgate management.

The minimajor disclosed Monday that the Lionsgate board had approved placing $16 million into a trust for severance to five top managers if they’re kicked out “without cause” after a takeover by Icahn. In response, Icahn called the approval “reprehensible” and complained about Lionsgate’s efforts to institute an anti-takeover “poison pill” that would be triggered if Icahn’s stake reaches 20%.

“We believe this latest action, together with the board’s failed and misguided attempts to implement a poison pill and its reckless retention (at enormous expense to shareholders – with no discernible benefit) of no less than six professional advisory firms (two financial advisors, three law firms and a public relations firm) to defend against our offer, shows just how far removed this board has become from its mission of holding management accountable and safeguarding the interests of shareholders,” Icahn said in a statement.

Lionsgate scored a victory on May 12 in its ongoing battle with Icahn, receiving the backing of 56% of its shareholders for its poison pill — even though that option has been rescinded by Canadian regulators.

Lionsgate’s continued to urge shareholders to spurn Icahn’s offer, reiterating its description of the bid as “financially inadequate, opportunistic and coercive.”

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