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Icahn’s Request to Delay Lions Gate Meeting Is Denied

A bid by billionaire Carl Icahn to postpone Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.’s Dec. 14 shareholder meeting was rejected by a Canadian regulatory panel.

The British Columbia Securities Commission refused the motion yesterday, according a letter from the panel filed in a New York court today by lawyers for Vancouver-based Lions Gate.

Icahn, the company’s largest shareholder with a 33 percent stake, is making a hostile $7.50-a-share offer for Lions Gate, the maker of the “Saw” horror films and Tyler Perry comedies. Postponement of the meeting would allow more time for a New York judge to rule on Icahn’s motion to reverse an equity-for-debt swap that effectively diluted his voting power.

Egan-Jones Ratings Co., an investor advisory firm, recommended today that shareholders vote for Icahn’s five board nominees at the meeting, scheduled to be held in Los Angeles.

Lions Gate attorney William Savitt didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment. Icahn’s attorney, Joe DiBenedetto, also didn’t immediately respond to a call.

In making the recommendation, Egan-Jones cited the July debt swap that increased holdings of director Mark Rachesky, who supports management, by about 16 million shares to almost 29 percent.

Icahn has said he wants the court to rule on his motion to nullify the swap by Dec. 10, the day that his tender offer expires. Lions Gate lawyers today filed a letter in New York Supreme Court arguing for a ruling on Dec. 13, the day before the shareholder meeting.

In a court filing today, Icahn said his nominees have agreed to resign if it becomes clear that they won only because of the preliminary injunction and the order later is reversed by the court.

Lions Gate fell 2 cents to $7.23 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have gained 24 percent this year.

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