Carl Icahn Knocks Harder on Lions Gate

Carl Icahn lifts his stake in Lions Gate as he continues his bid to gain control of the company.
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Carl Icahn has turned the screws just a little more on

Lions Gate

(LGF)

, the independent film studio.

Through a series of affiliates, the billionaire investor raised his stake in Lions Gate to 15.6% from 14.5%, according to a filing with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

on Friday evening.

Icahn, who successfully pushed at least one of his candidates onto the board of the biotech firm Biogen in a proxy battle last week, has been trying since March to win seats on Lions Gate's board. A month ago, he failed in a tender offer for all of Lions Gate's convertible debt after negotiations with management over board seats fell apart. Some investors had criticized the bond tender price as underwhelming.

Since then, Icahn has acquired about $1.5 million worth of the bonds, convertible into only about 130,000 shares.

Still, he has continued to add Lions Gate stock on the open market. The 13-D filing showed that between May 1 and June 5, Icahn bought about 1.36 million shares, paying $5.37 to $5.47 apiece. The total purchase price for his entire stake has been about $122 million, according to the filing.

In Monday trading, Lions Gate shares were changing hands at $5.62, up 16 cents.

Icahn, obviously, has been critical of management, specifically taking issue with the level of the company's overhead and its decision to buy the TV Guide Network in January for about $242 million. It has since sold a 49% stake in the network to the private-equity division of JPMorgan.

In an interview last week, Icahn said that the studio's distribution network, along with its film library of some 12,000 titles, intrigues him most about the company.

Last week, Lions Gate, based in Vancouver and Santa Monica, posted a wider-than-expected loss for its fiscal fourth-quarter, which ended March 31.

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