Studio urges shareholders to back board of directors

Lionsgate has kicked off its campaign in its battle against Carl Icahn, urging shareholders to back the minimajor’s slate for the board of directors.

“The Lionsgate board strongly recommends that all Lionsgate shareholders vote FOR Lionsgate’s director nominees on the white proxy card and discard any proxy materials you may receive from the Icahn Group,” the company said in a letter sent Monday.

The shareholders meeting has been set for Dec. 14 in Los Angeles with Lionsgate asked shareholders to approve its slate of 12 nominees. Icahn, who owns 33% of Lionsgate, has put up five nominees — including veteran film exec Chris McGurk — and asserted that the current board hasn’t improved shareholder value.

Daniel Ninivaggi and Harold T. Shapiro. He’s also asked shareholders to not support five members of the 12-member Lionsgate slate including vice chairman Michael Burns, former Icahn associate Mark Rachesky (who owns 29% of Lionsgate) along with Harald Ludwig, G. Scott Paterson and Hardwick Simmons.

However, Icahn didn’t include Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer on the nonsupport list.

The stock, which hit a two-year high of $7.65 on Oct. 15, was unchanged at $7.44 a share in trading Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Lionsgate announced its 12-member slate on Nov. 19. It’s the same as the current board except that Brian V. Tobin’s slot will be filled by Frank Giustra, who founded Lionsgate in 1997 and served as chairman until 2003.

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