Financier and corporate raider Carl Icahn has been after stock in Lions Gate Entertainment for years. In a new legal claim Icahn and 8 other plaintiffs filed in New York County in late July, the current Lions Gate board of directors is accused of facilitating “an unlawful sham transaction.” The claim states that current board members and other “co-conspirators” worked to cement their positions in order to “protect their personal interests in compensation and perks at the sole expense of their company, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp…”
Icahn and his fellow plaintiffs claim Lions Gate committed a “desperate, last-ditch effort” to subvert “proper and lawful efforts” by the plaintiffs “to elect their own directors to the Board.” The legal papers finger a supposedly “disinterested securities holder,” John Kornitzer, as the patsy of the plan, contending the transaction was filtered through him in order to hide what it truly was – an effort to issue a giant chunk of underpriced stock to an insider and lock the current board in place. According to the summons the whole thing “belongs more properly in the script for a new reality TV program, ‘Mad Management.'” (Some lawyerly type is making a little funny here – Lions Gate produces AMC’s runaway hit drama Mad Men.)
Sounds like the whole thing might also make for a nifty new Lions Gate production about nefarious corporate shenanigans starring George Clooney or Harrison Ford. Boot up Final Draft now, script writers. You can use the actual complaint for reference by clicking here.