Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Hollywood Babble On & On #497: I have returned from the wilderness!

Welcome to the show folks...

Sorry I didn't post anything yesterday. It's spring cleaning & renovation time down here at the ranch. Yesterday, some work was being done in the basement, and someone, who shall remain nameless, felt the cord that connected my high-speed internet was in the way, decided to not find out what it was for, and cut it.

24 hours without internet until the repairman came and re-spliced it this morning.

But I'm back, and I'm finished dispensing brutal punishment on the cutter in question, so I can get back to delivering the bloggy goodness you crave like the salivating dogs that you are.


The management of Lionsgate's plan to fight off Carl Icahn's proposed buy-up of the mini-major's stock with a so-called "poison pill," has bit the dust. The plan was to dilute the shares by offering additional shares at a discount to investors, making it harder for the Icahn Group to get the controlling interest they want because of the sheer volume of shares being made available.

However, the British Columbia Securities Commission put the kibosh to that plan.

Now you're probably wondering why a company head-quartered in Santa Monica has to get the blessing of the Securities Commission of a Canadian province for their poison pill.

Well the answer is simple.

Lionsgate is technically a Canadian company. It was started in Vancouver, home of the Lions Gate Bridge, as a distributor, grew, bought Artisan Entertainment, and became the company it is today. It's maintained its status as a Canadian corporation, because of film tax incentives, and that it's just plain easier to be registered in Canada than the USA from a corporate tax perspective.

Okay, history lesson over.

Back to the poison pill.

I don't like stunts like that. The management says that Icahn's offer is "opportunistic, coercive, fattening, and can lead to baldness," but the whole thing reeks of management trying to protect their own positions over the welfare of the company and shareholders.

The company's shares are up slightly, $6.87/share according to my most recent peek, but still below Icahn's $7 offer, and are going up because of interest over the take-over,
not because of Lionsgate's steady stream of hits. The management is spending millions of dollars to fight this take-over, but I'm not convinced that it's for the good of the company, and not for the security of the positions of the upper management.

There are a lot of folks who don't like Icahn. That's natural when you do corporate takeovers, and some of his critics say he can't have a studio, because he's not an artist, he's a businessman.

I have to ask those critics:

How many studios are being run by artists?

They're all run by businessmen with artistic pretensions, not artists. Studios are supposed to be run by businessmen.

Besides, it's not like Icahn will be running the studio himself. He'll hire someone to do it for him. It will be that person who will make the creative decisions, and if that person green-lights projects and deals that make money, Icahn will probably leave that person alone. That's because the day to day managing of a movie company is a nightmare for a hard-boiled New York biz type like Icahn. The east coast money men of the Golden Age of Hollywood knew that, and left the Louis B. Mayers, and Darryl Zanucks alone as long as they made a profit. If they didn't make money, then the money people found someone who would, and that was that.

It's the nature of the beast.


Paramount's inked a deal to make a movie based on Mattel's Magic 8 Ball.

Let's see what my own Magic 8 Ball says about this project:
Well, my Magic 8 Ball is never wrong.


There are reports going around that singer John Mayer has quit Twitter.

I don't know how accurate those reports are, but Twitter's "Douche Level" has plummeted at least 36%.

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