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Lionsgate’s Top Executives See Soaring Compensation

'Hunger Games,' 'Twilight' fuel stock price rise

With “The Hunger Games” and “Twilight” fueling Lionsgate’s profits and stock price, the studio has rewarded its top execs with sharply increased pay.

Lionsgate paid $28.2 million to vice chairman Michael Burns and another $12.6 million to CEO Jon Feltheimer during its fiscal year ended March 31.

Lionsgate made the executive compensation disclosures Monday as part of its proxy statement to shareholders, officially  setting its annual meeting for Sept. 10 in Toronto, via a Schedule 14A filing with the SEC.  The proxy officially set Lionsgate’s  annual meeting for Sept. 10 in Toronto during the Toronto Intl. Film Festival.

During this past fiscal year, Lionsgate established “The Hunger Games” as a franchise with $690 million in worldwide box office, released the final “Twilight film” and saw its stock price rise 70%. “The Hunger Games: Chasing Fire” opens Nov. 22.

Shares have more than quadrupled in value in less than two years. Lionsgate cashed out Carl Icahn for his 33% stake at $7 a share in August, 2011; shares closed Monday at $32.25, down 48 cents.

Burns was paid five times his fiscal 2012 salary. Nearly half of the $28.2 million came in the form of stock options made over the next four years, along with $7.9 million in stock awards, a $4 million bonus, $1.3 million in incentive plan compensation and $970,962 in base compensation.

Feltheimer nearly doubled his salary in 2013 with a $6 million bonus, $3.6 million in stock awards, $1.5 million in incentive  plan compensation and a $1.26 million base compensation.

The compensation committee said in the proxy that the execs had positioned the company to further expand internationally, improve margins, and reduce cost of capital.

“In light of this particularly strong performance, the Compensation Committee determined that it was appropriate to award incentives to these executives for fiscal 2013 above the 25th to 50th percentile relative to the peer group normally targeted by the company,” the committee added.

The proxy also disclosed that Wayne Levin, general counsel and chief strategic officer, saw his compensation more than double to $4.7 million from $1.83 million. That included $1.9 million in stock awards and $1.26 million in option awards.

CFO James Keegan saw compensation decline to $1.02 million from $1.6 million.

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