Mark Cuban Discloses Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF) Stake; Carl Icahn Raises His Bid ~ market folly

Friday, April 16, 2010

Mark Cuban Discloses Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF) Stake; Carl Icahn Raises His Bid

If you thought the Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF) situation couldn't get anymore interesting, leave it to Mark Cuban to possibly throw a wrench in Carl Icahn's plans. The billionaire owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks recently filed a 13D with the SEC revealing a 5.4% ownership stake in Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF) with 6,369,315 shares. In total, Cuban purchased $27,897,430 worth of LGF.

Additionally, in the fine print, we see that Cuban "has sold to counterparties the right to put to him 2,000,000 shares of common stock at a price of $7.50 per share, if exercised prior to or on January 22, 2011." If those puts were to be exercised, Cuban's stake in LGF would then rise to 7.1%. Since he has sold puts (instead of buying them), this is not a hedge to his position, but rather a bullish wager. Below is a breakdown of Cuban's purchases as he started buying in late March and continued into early April:

(click to enlarge)

While Cuban has only disclosed he purchased for "investment purposes," keep in mind that a 13D filing signals an activist stake so Cuban could possibly have something up his sleeve here. And speaking of activism, you'll remember that corporate raider Carl Icahn has been trying to acquire Lions Gate Entertainment and initially bid $6 per share for the company. Well, late yesterday Icahn raised his offer for LGF to $7 per share and has insisted that management be replaced. Shares were up over 8% after hours yesterday on the news. You can read Icahn's letter to shareholders here.

So, who knows if we'll have a battle of billionaires here, but Cuban could feasibly just be playing the arbitrage in Icahn's possible takeover. The fact that Cuban filed a 13D certainly gives him the option to get involved though. Additionally, you'll recall that Cuban has a history of investing in various companies in the movie industry. As such, we'll continue to watch the developments here. In the mean time, you can view the latest portfolio moves from Icahn, as well as read Icahn's investor letter.

Taken from Google Finance, Lions Gate Entertainment is "the studio with a presence in production and distributions of motion pictures, television programming, home entertainment, family entertainment, video-on-demand and digitally delivered content. The Company released approximately 18 to 20 motion pictures theatrically per year, which include films it develops and produces in-house, as well as films that it acquires from third parties."

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