Icahn Opposes Lions Gate Effort to Continue Suit Over Studio Merger Plans
Carl Icahn asked a judge a second time to dismiss a lawsuit by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., saying the studio’s claims that he tried to interfere with its plans became moot when his tender offer for the company expired.
Icahn, chairman of Icahn Enterprises LP in New York, didn’t violate any law by not disclosing “tentative or inchoate plans” he might have had about merging the Vancouver-based studio and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., he said yesterday in a filing in U.S. District Court in New York.
Lions Gate said Dec. 30 it wants to continue its lawsuit against Icahn, forcing him to pay damages for interfering with its plans. The New York financier should reveal details of a “secret” agreement he had with MGM creditors, it said in a court filing.
It also wants to know about a “side deal” Icahn allegedly struck with another large shareholder of the studio, Mark Cuban, about buying his shares, it said.
According to Lions Gate, Icahn offered Cuban, co-founder of the TV network HDNet and owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, “special consideration” for his agreement to tender a 5.4 percent Lions Gate to Icahn as the billionaire tried to acquire the studio.
Icahn said yesterday his company “vigorously denies that it had any concrete plans regarding MGM or any understanding or agreement with Cuban.”
Lions Gate knew long ago about Icahn’s holding of MGM debt, and that Cuban might sell his shares to a “reliable buyer,” he said.
As evidence, he said Lions Gate Vice Chairman Michael Burns offered Cuban “a third-party deal” at a five-cent premium over Icahn’s $7 a share tender offer, and was refused.
Burns didn’t immediately respond to a call and e-mail seeking comment.
The case is Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. v. Icahn, 10-cv- 8169, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York Manhattan).
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