Icahn, Lions Gate to team up on potential acquisitions

LOS ANGELES Fri Jul 9, 2010 8:09pm EDT

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF.N) and its largest shareholder Carl Icahn, setting aside their differences, agreed to work together on certain acquisition opportunities beginning July 9 and ending July 19.

Under their agreement, Lions Gate said in a regulatory filing that it will refrain from issuing shares in excess of 5 percent of its share capital if not required in the normal course of business, or related to joint acquisitions with Icahn.

Lions Gate did not elaborate on the acquisition opportunities in its filing, and Icahn was not available for comment.

The billionaire investor, who acquired a 37.9 percent stake in Lions Gate, has launched a hostile takeover for the company and threatened to fight to unseat its management.

Icahn has blasted Lions Gate in the past for making what he called inadvisable purchases, including of TV Guide in 2009.

Merger and acquisition discussions in the media industry have increased this year.

Sources familiar with the situation said last month that Lions Gate had spoken with Metro-Goldwyn Mayer about a merger, but Icahn said at the time that he opposed such a deal, because it would come with a movie library that is declining in value.

Sources said this week that Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) has struck a deal in principle to sell arthouse studio Miramax to construction magnate Ron Tutor and Colony Capital.

Icahn has repeatedly criticized Lions Gate for poor cost control and mismanagement.

In turn, the board of Lions Gate, the studio behind "Man Men" and "Saw," has rejected Icahn's bid and adopted a shareholder rights plan in a move to deter Icahn.

The so-called "poison pill" -- a shareholder rights issue -- is triggered when any investor gains control of 38 percent of the company's stock and allows other shareholders to buy stock at a discount. That would make it more difficult for Icahn to gain control of more than 50 percent of the shares.

Shares in Lions Gate gained 1.2 percent to close at $6.84 on Friday.

(Reporting by Edwin Chan; editing by Carol Bishopric)

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