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Lionsgate toppers reap $9 mil in bonuses

Jon Feltheimer, Michael Burns receive cash and stock compensation

Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer and vice chairman Michael Burns have received $9 million in bonuses in the wake of the launch of “The Hunger Games,” the acquisition of Summit Entertainment and ending the long-running battle with investor Carl Icahn.

Feltheimer received $6.44 million in compensation for the fiscal year ended March 31 — including a $5 million cash bonus, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. That was down 19% from a year ago, when he received a stock award triggered by Icahn’s hostile takeover attempt.

Burns received $5.57 million in compensation, including a $4 million cash bonus. That was more than double his 2011 compensation of $2.69 million.

The company made the disclosure Monday in a Schedule 14A filing with the SEC. That filing also revealed that Lionsgate has set its annual meeting for Sept. 11 in Toronto — its usual slot, aimed to coincide with the Toronto Film Festival — and that all 12 members of the board have been nominated to remain in their posts.

In addition to noting “Hunger Games” and the settling of the dispute with Icahn, the filing said the compensation committee cited achievements by the execs such as the creation of the Celestial Tiger partnership in Asia with Haim Saban and licensing deals for “Mad Men,” “Orange Is the New Black” and “Anger Management.” The panel also awarded a $1.5 million in time-based restricted share units to Feltheimer and $1 million units to Burns.

Steve Beeks, the co-chief operating officer and home entertainment chief, received $4.5 million in compensation, including a $1 million bonus. Joe Drake, the former motion picture group president, received a $2-million bonus as part of his agreement to leave the company in April after the oepning of “The Hunger Games” — with Drake’s bonus tied to the performance of that film, which has grossed nearly $700 million worldwide.

In May, Lionsgate posted a loss of $22.7 million for its fiscal fourth quarter, vs. a year-earlier profit of $49 million, due largely to $38 million in transaction and purchase accounting costs associated with the Summit deal. Revenue of $645 million surged by more than 70% from $377 million with contributions from the home entertainment release of “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1” and strong TV and library revenue.

At that point, Lionsgate leaders reassured Wall Street that profits from “The Hunger Games” have just started to flow, with Feltheimer projecting that 90% of earnings from “Hunger Games” have not yet shown up on the studio’s bottom line and asserting that $900 million in EBITDA will be generated over the next three years by Lionsgate operations, including the “Hunger Games” and “Twilight” franchises plus TV series such as “Mad Men” and “Nurse Jackie.”

Lionsgate shares closed Monday at $13.60 after falling 55¢. They are up 58% from when the Summit deal closed.

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