The studio fires back at the financier

Lionsgate issued the following response to Icahn’s open letter:

Mr. Icahn is simply attempting to distract shareholders from the obvious–his offer price is woefully inadequate. Contrary to Mr. Icahn’s statement, Lionsgate’s Board and management team are focused on leading the Company and are committed to building value for all of our shareholders.

Our track record of successful growth over the past 10 years is evidence that we continue to move Lionsgate in the right direction:

Motion Pictures:

  • Lionsgate has created one of the only motion picture businesses with a significant presence in the horror/action genres, independent and prestige segments of the market.

  • Our theatrical business typically acquires, produces and releases approximately 12 to 15 films a year under a disciplined financial model. In addition, Lionsgate has been successful in releasing highly regarded hits such as the Oscar winning films “Crash” and “Precious” and in creating long-term, valuable franchises such as the “Tyler Perry” and “Saw” franchises. Our upcoming slate highlighted by the films “Kick Ass,” starring Nicolas Cage, Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloe Grace Moretz and Mark Strong; “The Expendables,” starring Sylvester Stallone, Killers, starring Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher; Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married Too,” starring Janet Jackson, Jill Scott and Tyler Perry; and “The Next Three Days,” starring Russell Crowe, typifies our diversified portfolio approach focusing on large niches where we have a track record of proven success.

  • We have achieved profitability on approximately 70% of our film releases over the past ten years — one of the highest success rates in the industry.

Television:

  • Our television business has grown from annual revenues of $8 million in 1999 to approximately $350 million this year. We have been focused on financial discipline in developing new television product. Our hit shows “Mad Men,” “Weeds” and “Nurse Jackie” are leading shows in the television business and have achieved critical acclaim, a devoted fan base and economic success.

12,000-Title Library:

  • Through a series of successful acquisitions and additions from recent television and theatrical productions, Lionsgate has built a premier, 12,000-title library that has generated an average of $267 million in annual revenue for the past three years.

Throughout the past year, Mr. Icahn has repeatedly changed his stance on Lionsgate and his intentions with regard to the Company:

In May and June 2009, Mr. Icahn had several discussions with management regarding Lionsgate’s interest in a potential acquisition of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., (MGM) including his potential participation in providing financing for the transaction. Now he is openly criticizing Lionsgate for its interest in acquiring libraries.

Last year Mr. Icahn was openly critical of the acquisition of TV Guide Network and TVGuide.com, going as far as saying that the transaction “borders on recklessness.”(1) Since then, however, Mr. Icahn praised Lionsgate’s management for many of its decisions, including the acquisition of TV Guide Network and TVGuide.com.(2) Notably, Lionsgate believes that TV Guide Network and TVGuide.com are worth more than what Lionsgate paid for it a year ago and expects them to generate $75 million in EBITDA within three years.

Lionsgate is a strong and diversified company with a proven strategy to generate value for our shareholders. We are confident we can better serve our shareholders by continuing to execute our strategic business plan.

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