* Billionaire investor to sell stake
* Lions Gate shares down nearly 5 pct
(Adds company and Icahn comments, byline; updates shares)
By Lisa Richwine
LOS ANGELES, Aug 30 Activist investor Carl
Icahn agreed to dump his stake in Lions Gate Entertainment Corp
(LGF.N) on Tuesday, giving up on a lengthy battle for control
of the film studio and producer of television hit "Mad Men."
Billionaire Icahn and his son, Brett, will sell up to 44
million shares of Lions Gate at $7 each, the Hollywood studio
said in a statement. The price is about equal to Icahn's cost
of acquiring the shares.
Lions Gate shares fell 4.9 percent to $7.15 in after-hours
trading, from an earlier close of $7.52 on the New York Stock
The billionaire investor, who waged a years-long public
campaign against a studio he accused of mismanagement and
over-spending, had tried to appoint his own people to the board
and attempted a hostile takeover. Tuesday's announcement
signaled a cessation of hostilities, including in court.
Icahn had at one point offered as much as $7.50 a share for
Lions Gate after the company rejected an earlier $6.50 per
share offer. Last December, shareholders defeated Icahn's
attempt to install a dissident slate on the Lions Gate board.
The parties took their fight to court. Icahn sued Lions
Gate and charged its directors had schemed to block his
takeover bid, a case dismissed by the New York Supreme Court.
In its own suit, Lions Gate alleged that Icahn interfered with
earlier efforts to merge with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and other
Icahn said on Tuesday he wished the company well with its
future slate but added "my own 'slate' is pretty full at the
time, and I therefore determined that it is a good time to
He is now turning his attention elsewhere: bidding more
than $10 billion for Clorox Co (CLX.N), which makes a range of
products from bleach to Burt's Bees lotions. [ID:nN1E77T178]
Under the sale agreement, Lions Gate and MHR Fund
Management, controlled by company director Mark Rachesky,
bought 11 million shares each in a transaction due to close by
Lions Gate has 35 business days to designate buyers for the
Icahns' remaining 22 million shares.
The parties also ended all litigation against each other.
Lions Gate CEO Jon Feltheimer said the transaction is
"accretive and antidilutive" and allows the company to focus on
its long-term business plan.
In addition to "Mad Men," Lions Gate is the studio behind
the films "Precious" and "Saw" and television shows "Nurse
Jackie" and "Weeds."
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and