Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Hollywood Babble On & On #248: The Lion May Fight

Well, well, according to the always indefatigable and eerily reliable Nikki Finke, the management of Lionsgate has ended talks with billionaire investor Carl Icahn and his allies over them putting delegates of their choice on the board of directors. (Reports say that the Icahn & Allies camp has around 50% of the stock, which makes the denial of board seats a little hard to justify.)

Now, I've talked about Icahn's options with Lionsgate before, and I regret that this deal has come to this, because no doubt lawyers will get involved, and that always turns what should be a business deal into a war. And while I think turning business into war is something that should only be used as a last resort, I will offer my thoughts on the issue, in a general, and historical-philosophical way, with my old buddy Sun Tzu.

So here are some things that both sides should consider:

1. THE MORAL LAW - Do you honestly believe that you and your supporters believe that you are doing the right thing, not only for yourself, but for your shareholders. And can you articulate your argument in a sincere and meaningful way.

2. HEAVEN - What is the condition of the company? Can it survive a fight like this? What sort of economic conditions will you be fighting under?

3. EARTH - This is where you determine exactly how you win your fight. What materials, allies, and resources you will need for the battle, and how will you use them? To be blunt, are you bringing a knife to a gunfight?

4. THE COMMANDER - Who is in charge of your forces in this fight? Does this commander believe in the rightness of the cause, and has the wisdom, cunning, and yes, even ruthlessness to do what needs to be done, all the while inspiring the trust and loyalty of allies?

5. METHOD & DISCIPLINE - How will the commander win the fight? What are the commander's plans, how will this person enact them? And what is the win/loss potential of their strategies?

You know, I hoped that this deal would have a happy ending for both sides, that is possible if both sides were willing, but now it's become another Hollywood war.

Let's hope that no matter who wins, the company and its shareholders are the real winners.

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