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Author Topic:   Lions Gate/Artisan
indiedan
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posted May 25, 2004 10:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
DIRECT FROM COMIC BOOK TO DVD

Marvel Enterprises is teaming with Lions Gate Entertainment to produce animated films based on its Marvel Comics superheroes and release them directly to video, the Wall Street Journal reported today (Tuesday). The companies initially plan to produce eight films, with the first four relying on better-known Marvel characters, then begin using "second tier" characters for the others.

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posted May 26, 2004 09:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Marvel Spins Deal To Capture Kids With Video Films (WSJ complete)

In an effort to diversify beyond comic books and big-screen movie deals, Marvel Enterprises Inc. Tuesday announced a deal with Lions Gate Entertainment to make eight animated direct-to-video movies based on Marvel comic characters.

Comic books, and the movies they spawn, have catapulted Marvel superheroes like Spider-Man and X-Men to the fore of popular culture.

But kids don't pore over comics like they used to, and movies can take several years to reach the big screen -- leaving Marvel hustling to keep its brands fresh.

The company thinks the answer lies in the growing direct-to-DVD and direct-to-video market. Marvel's hope is that the DVDs will help characters like the Hulk and Iron Man stay fresh in kids' minds, even when a few years have lapsed since their last big-screen movie. The idea is to keep kids buying toys like Hulk Hands and Marvel Legends action figures, and even sell a few comic books in the process.

The agreement with Lions Gate finds Marvel pursuing a business strategy that has brought in big bucks for toy makers, which saw overall sales for traditional toys slide last year. Toy giant Mattel Inc. helped jump start the trend in 2000 when it released the direct-to-DVD movie of "Barbie in the Nutcracker" to add zing to flagging Barbie sales. The minimovie spawned $150 million in retail video and toy sales. Meanwhile, Lego teamed up with Walt Disney Co.'s Miramax to produce a direct-to-video movie, "Bionicle: The Mask of Light," based on its action-figure toys.

Since emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1998, Marvel has been transforming itself from a comic-book publisher to an entertainment company by dipping into its library of 4,700 properties that have been used in movies, toys, cartoons, and videogames. A key component of its strategy has been landing movie deals for its top characters, which has resulted in big hits like 2002's "Spider-Man" and this summer's much-anticipated sequel, "Spider-Man 2."

But as Marvel runs through its more popular superheroes in theatrical movie releases, analysts say, it needs to get more mileage out of its second-tier characters. Beefing up Marvel's filmed media output is key for times when overall comic-book sales, about $500 million annually a decade ago, currently languish around $330 million a year.

That is where the direct-to-video market comes in. Executives at both companies say they are still deciding exactly which heroes might make the cut. In many cases, Marvel kept the right to make animated direct-to-video titles even when it licensed a character like the Hulk for theatrical release.

"The first four out will be very high profile," says Avi Arad, chief executive of Marvel Studios. "We want to make sure we come out with a bang." Gradually, lesser-known characters might be introduced, perhaps by giving one or two minor roles in an earlier DVD movie and then showcasing them in later ones.

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posted June 30, 2004 10:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH SUMMER INTERN   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH SUMMER INTERN     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
LIONS GATE SAYS IT MAY NOT GET DVD RIGHTS FOR FAHRENHEIT

Today's Headlines | Previous Headlines
The success of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 has become a mixed blessing for Lions Gate Entertainment. In a conference call with investors on Tuesday, Lions Gate chief Jon Feltheimer said that it is unlikely that his company will be able to obtain home video rights for the movie. "We certainly have been aggressive in trying to get [the video rights], but I believe it is going to a major studio," Feltheimer said. He maintained that he had attempted to persuade Bob and Harvey Weinstein that Lions Gate could do "as good if not better" than the major studios in marketing the film on home video. The trade publication Video Store magazine said today (Wednesday) that some analysts are forecasting that the Disney-owned Buena Vista Home Entertainment will wind up with DVD distribution rights, even though Disney rejected the film for theatrical release. Entertainment analyst Dennis McAlpine told the publication: "My guess is that there is already a deal in place [with Disney] somewhere. It may well be that Disney or Miramax had a right of first refusal on the film if they wanted" to distribute it on DVD.

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posted November 10, 2004 10:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
'Fahrenheit' Heats Up Lions Gate Profits

Thanks to Disney's decision to refuse to distribute Fahrenheit 9/11, Vancouver-based Lions Gate Entertainment pivoted to a profit of $8.3 million on revenue of $231 million during its second quarter from a loss of $274,000 on revenue of $93 million during the same period a year ago. The company was also helped by the success of the low-budget Open Water.

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indiedan
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posted November 22, 2004 04:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lions Gate stock off after report of possible sale

By Gina Keating, Reuters

LOS ANGELES, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Shares in Lions Gate Entertainment Corp were down on Monday following a published report that the independent film company had approached Citigroup about putting itself up for sale.

Financial analyst David Miller said the stock's dip on Monday showed investors were skeptical of the report.

The New York Post report said the Vancouver, British Columbia-based company was working to find a buyer for about $1.8 billion, or $13 a share -- a premium of about 27 percent over the market price.

Lions Gate Vice Chairman Michael Burns would not comment on the report, but took exception to the Post's claim that the studio's films were "not expected to be as strong for next year."

"I found it amusing that somebody would comment on our release slate when they haven't seen our pictures, but we are pretty damned excited about our slate, including our sequels," Burns said.

Miller, of Sanders Morris Harris, attributed the slide in the company's shares to last week's sales of shares by company officers and a downward trend in media stocks.

"There are a number of...inaccuracies in that article and I think the market figured it out," he said. "They are just printing speculation."

Miller also quibbled with claims by Post sources that Lions Gate was "having a tough time finding buyers," and that investors bid up the stock purely in anticipation of a buyout.

"It attempts to persuade readers that the only reason Lions Gate is up 42 percent since July is because MGM got bought, so Lions Gate is next in line," Miller said. "Lions Gate is up that much because it executed brilliantly on its film lineup."

Burns said the company's 2006 releases include sequels to horror hits "Saw" and Rob Zombie's "House of 1,000 Corpses," and titles starring such A-list actors as Sandra Bullock in "Crash," Kevin Spacey in "Beyond the Sea" and John Travolta and Scarlett Johansson in "Love Song for Bobby Long."

The company has high hopes for "Diary of a Mad Black Woman," which Burns said has generated "extraordinary" early buzz, and for the awards prospects of current release "Stage Beauty" starring Claire Danes and Billy Crudup.

Acquisitions from film festivals, such as this year's hit "Open Water," will round out Lions Gate's theatrical release schedule, Burns said.

Lions Gate shares have risen more than five-fold since June 2003, partly on speculation that its 8,000-title film library would make a tempting takeover target for larger media companies.

Miller said a "reasonable" offer for Lions Gate, based on comparable deals, would be about $14 per share.

He added that "any vertically integrated company" seeking to add to its library could be considered a potential suitor for Lions Gate. Those companies could include the Walt Disney Co. , Time Warner , Fox Entertainment Group Inc and Comcast Corp , he said.

Shares of Lions Gate were down 2.3 percent at $10.10 in late trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.

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indiedan
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posted January 19, 2005 01:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Why Lions Gate may draw bidders

Commentary: Budget-minded studio has a key library

By Jon Friedman, CBS.MarketWatch.com

NEW YORK (CBS.MW) -- By many indications, these are the best of times for Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.

Lions Gate (LGF: news, chart, profile) is expected to report strong quarterly financial results on Feb. 9. And its stock has soared 109 percent in the past year.

Further, its big film library is a major asset while brisk DVD sales enhance the revenue stream. Plus, Lions Gate's profile is increasing in Hollywood, thanks to the buzz generated by many of its movies -- especially last year's politically charged "Fahrenheit 9/11" as well as thrillers like "Saw" and "Open Water."

Indeed, things are going so well for the small, aggressive company these days that it may yet receive Corporate America's ultimate sign of approval -- a takeover offer.

Takeover bait

Sony Corp.'s (SNE: news, chart, profile) deal to acquire MGM Inc. (MGM: news, chart, profile) last September signaled the value of having a sizable film library at a time when content is truly the king of the entertainment industry. Lions Gate, which owns some 8,000 titles, is no wallflower in Hollywood.

"We're the last girl standing in the bar at 2 a.m.," quipped Michael Burns, the vice chairman of Lions Gate.

Lions Gate, with nominal headquarters in Vancouver but principal operations based in Hollywood, could look interesting to a prospective suitor such as Time Warner (TWX: news, chart, profile) , Walt Disney (DIS: news, chart, profile) or Viacom (VIA.B: news, chart, profile) .

These are immensely ambitious movie companies, which have a hunger for increasing content, largely to serve their television operations, and could take advantage of the economies of scale available in an acquisition. Sony's takeover of MGM spurred wider buyout speculation because it could be a model for a deal involving Lions Gate.

"When you look at the rationale for the Sony-MGM deal, it may make sense for a larger media conglomerate to explore a similar type of partnership with Lions Gate," said Anthony DiClemente, a Lehman Bros. analyst, pointing to the potential for cost savings.

He noted that the company has succeeded in getting several of its titles onto shelves at major chain stores like Wal-Mart and Best Buy, which together make up a major chunk of the nation's DVD retail market.

DiClemente expects Lions Gate to report fiscal third-quarter revenue of $185 million -- more than double what it made in that period the previous year.

Financial prudence

Burns declined to discuss the takeover buzz on Wall Street, but he's happy to talk about what the company is doing right.

Because Lions Gate is so much smaller than entertainment giants like Time Warner or Disney, it can't afford to lose a huge sum on a dud. That's why Lions Gate seldom invests more than $20 million on any film.

"You know what we're trying to do?" Burns said a recent interview. "Nothing stupid!"

Prudence

Lions Gate could teach the big boys a lesson in financial prudence.

"We're still flying coach on Jet Blue to cut down on expenses," Burns said.

Lions Gate is happily no-frills all the way. When Burns came to Manhattan recently to be interviewed, he suggested we chat at a Starbucks. A far cry from the Four Seasons or any of the swanky venues often favored by movie industry executives.

This company has been known to take fiscal caution to unprecedented heights by Hollywood's standards.

Not so long ago, when Burns and Chief Executive Jon Feltheimer went on road shows to hawk the company's stock, they shared hotel rooms on occasion. (Say, maybe if Hollywood's most adversarial executives from a bygone age, Michael Eisner and Michael Ovitz, had tried out this arrangement, maybe Ovitz would still be working for Disney!)

An example of the fruits of Lions Gate's strategy can be found in "Saw." The reviews for the movie probably wouldn't remind anyone of Oscar material, and it may have looked an awful lot like a generic scary-villain thriller.

But Lions Gate surely did something right on the film, which was made for about $1.2 million. It is expected to wind up grossing more than $100 million in total revenue, including a solid $55 million performance at the box office.

The company's strategy hinges on releasing profitable movies and building its film library, enabling it to capitalize on the burgeoning DVD retail market.

And by giving directors and stars the freedom to take chances and present provocative material and, as in such successes as "Open Water," "Monster's Ball" and "Secretary," Lions Gate is making a reputation for giving creative people considerable artistic freedom.

The company raised eyebrows, and its name recognition, when it distributed Michael Moore's controversial "Fahrenheit 9/11" after such major entertainment companies as Walt Disney passed on it.

The film went on to make $119 million at the box office and even won a People's Choice award earlier this month. It's being mentioned as a possible Best Picture nominee at the Oscars.

Even if Moore's movie gets shut out at Oscar time, Lions Gate executives have had ample consolation and proof that their game plan is working.

When Feltheimer and Burns sold a combination of stock and options last year, encompassing 40 percent of their holdings, each of them pocketed a little more than $10 million.

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posted February 01, 2005 11:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lions Gate Buys Another Controversial Film

Lions Gate Films is likely courting public controversy once again with its decision to pay $4 million for David Slade's Hard Candy, which screened last week at the Sundance Film Festival. Boston Globe critic Ty Burr described the movie in today's (Tuesday) edition as one of the few at the festival to "draw blood ... make people uncomfortable and angry." Burr said that although the movie starts out as "a carefree drama," it later "takes a left turn into an altogether different movie -- one that owes as much to horror and suspense as to social-message melodrama -- and it is that movie that divided audiences." Burr quotes one volunteer ticket-taker who remarked after hearing a couple discussing whether to see it, "Dude, I saw that thing. ... Stay away. I mean it: Stay away." Slade said that during a Q&A session after a screening, one man "started screaming at me, 'What gives you the right to make this film?' and I thought he was going to attack me.'" One woman who saw it, however, remarked, "I thought it was fantastic ... but I still haven't decided whether I liked it." Another woman remarked: "Everyone should see it. ... Especially men." Lions Gate President Tom Ortenberg conceded that the movie "will shock many people, but I think that's a good thing."

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posted February 07, 2005 02:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
CinemaNow Snags Another Studio

By Steven Mallas

Someday, people will use the Internet for much more than sending emails and instant messages, reading sports scores, ordering books, and buying stocks. Someday, all the data on the information superhighway will converge and pass through boxes sitting atop television sets, making the technology as easily accessible and as smoothly integrated into people's lives as TV is today.
Someday.

It won't be for a long, long while, but before you know it, people will be getting their important facts and figures and their treasured entertainment right in their living room, delivered over whatever the broadband/Wi-Fi technologies of today ultimately become. (See what Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX - News) CEO Reed Hastings thinks about this subject and its potential effect on his company's future business model.)

That's what I was thinking about as I read that online video-on-demand concern CinemaNow is now in business with General Electric's (NYSE: GE - News) studio division, NBC Universal (I loved this merger). According to the announcement, this deal will see NBC Universal's content rented out and streamed on a 24-hour basis. Given the savvy investors that CinemaNow has behind it, such as Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT - News), Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE: LGF - News), and Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO - News), it's obvious that a lot of intellectual capital believes this avenue could become a significant revenue source for content players down the line.

For now, however, NBC Universal is merely exploring the potential for its content in this medium. This venture is not going to undermine the company's existing pay-per-view and DVD strategies, and it won't become a huge part of GE's revenue base anytime soon. Nevertheless, somebody needs to stake a claim in this space, if only to keep up with the likes of Time Warner (NYSE: TWX - News) and Sony (NYSE: SNE - News), studios that were already involved with CinemaNow. (There are other current players, too, with the notable exception of Paramount.) The first movie to kick things off for the relationship is The Bourne Supremacy. Matt Damon should be proud.

I think shareholders should applaud the partnership, but they should also keep a lot of patience on hand to see where everything leads. It'll be a long time before we see exactly how the move will drive value.

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posted February 18, 2005 03:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lions Gate declines on debt sale

Lions Gate Entertainment shares declined 5 percent Friday after the movie studio announced its intention to raise as much as $175 million through the sale of debt. North Vancouver, British Columbia-based Lions Gate lost 49 cents to $9.86 after it said it would pursue a private placement of convertible senior subordinated notes due in 2025 for subsidiary Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. The sale is expected to raise between $150 million and $175 million. Such an effort to raise funds may signal to some investors that the company is considering an acquisition of some kind. However, Dennis McAlpine, president of McAlpine Associates in Scarsdale, N.Y., said the stock is just taking a breather after moving sharply higher in the last year. The shares, which were in the $6 range in late February 2004, rose to $11.40 by early November. Oppenheimer & Co. analyst Peter Mirsky told clients Friday that a Hollywood Reporter item stating that the company's horror film "Saw" generated sales of 1.9 million home-video units on its first release day is a bullish sign for the stock. "Though it's too early to determine how much upside this could create, this is a very strong number in our opinion, as it could drive previously unexpected second shipments [of 'Saw' DVD and VHS units]," he wrote in a research note. Lions Gate has itself been perceived as a takeover candidate. McAlpine also said that he's not sure how much the company would fetch in a sale. "There's a lot of product, but a lot of it's cannon fodder; it's not stuff that you're going to write home about."

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indiedan
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posted March 08, 2005 06:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lions Gate to use Sony format for handheld movies

Lions Gate Entertainment on Tuesday said it would release a dozen movie titles to a digital format that can be played on Sony's PlayStation Portable handheld device, becoming the first Hollywood studio to do so. The Universal Media Disc, or UMD, is a format developed by Sony for use in the PSP video game device. It is smaller than a DVD but has a capacity of 1.8 GB -- about three CDs. The new format could help Lions Gate reach young male gamers who share key demographics with the core audience for its horror-heavy offering of films, the company has said. The first slate of UMD releases by Lions Gate included new titles like "Punisher," "Open Water" and "Saw," and library titles such as "Terminator 2," "Rambo: First Blood," and "Total Recall," Lions Gate Entertainment president Steve Beeks said. The studio, with headquarters in Santa Monica, California, and Vancouver, British Columbia, plans to release more UMD films, including "Saw 2" and "Devil's Rejects," in 2006. Beeks said Lions Gate has a track record for supporting new technologies in home entertainment. The studio was among the first to release films on DVD, and the first to try DVD-9, DVD-18 and DVD+CD. He predicted the PSP would "go well beyond the standard gaming environment" and said the format would add mileage to the company's 8,000-title film library. The UMD titles will sell for about the same as DVDs, with new releases priced at $20 to $30 and library titles at $10 to $20, a company spokeswoman said.

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indiedan
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posted May 05, 2005 05:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lions Gate says will not bid for HIT Entertainment

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp said on Thursday it will not make a bid for British production company HIT Entertainment (HTE.L: Quote, Profile, Research). Chief Executive Jon Feltheimer said the Vancouver, British Columbia-based Lions Gate decided after performing due diligence that a potential merger would not create enough shareholder value to move ahead with the deal. HIT is a leading children's entertainment company whose properties include "Bob the Builder" and "Barney and Friends"

HIT shareholders voted last month to approve a $913.9 million takeover bid by British buyout firm Apax.

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posted June 30, 2005 03:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Low-Budget Films Produce High Profits for Lions Gate

Demonstrating again that low-budget films can often produce far greater box-office success than blockbusters, Toronto-based Lions Gate reported Wednesday that it recorded net profit of $20.1 million in its fourth quarter, reversing last year's fourth-quarter loss of $50.5 million. It attributed the results to the success of Tyler Perry's Diary of a Mad Black Woman and the thriller Saw. The company said that its revenue for fiscal 2005 totaled $842.6 million, up 124.2 percent over last year's $375.9 million.

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posted July 01, 2005 11:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH SUMMER INTERN   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH SUMMER INTERN     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tyler Perry Again Defies Critics

Tyler Perry's Diary of a Mad Black Woman, which surprised critics when it opened at No. 1 at the box office last February, surprised them again this week as Lions Gate Home Entertainment announced that it had sold some 2 million copies in its first day of release on DVD and VHS. "Tyler Perry is a true phenomenon, the strength of which continues to surprise even us," Steve Beeks, president of Lions Gate Entertainment, told Home Media Entertainment. "It's amazing. I was at Wal-Mart, and there were six pallets. By noon, two were empty, and the other four were half-full. We've got retailers screaming for more product. We placed a healthy number at street date, and now we've got production lines running at full capacity to fill reorders."

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posted August 10, 2005 05:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lions Gate shares fall after earnings miss

Shares of Lions Gate Entertainment fell 6 percent on Wednesday after the company missed Wall Street earnings estimates. The independent movie studio's first-quarter profits were depressed by higher-than-usual television production expenses and marketing costs for a widely released film that performed below expectations, Chief Executive Jon Feltheimer said. Feltheimer said Lions Gate, known for producing low-budget arthouse and horror films, still expected to meet fiscal year financial targets set last quarter. Lions Gate predicted it would see more than $800 million and free cash flow of $95 million to $100 million for fiscal 2006. The company posted revenue of $194.2 million and positive free cash flow of $29.5 million in the quarter. The company, based in Santa Monica, California, and Vancouver, British Columbia, took almost $23 million in up-front losses for the films "High Tension," "Happy Endings" and "Rize" but will recoup about $10 million later in the fiscal year when the films are released on DVD and pay television, Feltheimer said. Costs associated with "High Tension" accounted for $13 million of that loss, he said. Revenue for Lions Gate's 8,000-title film library came in low at $31 million, but the company expected promotions later in the year to bring the fiscal year total in line with last year's level, Chief Financial Officer Jim Keegan said. The library generated revenue of $211 million in fiscal 2005. The company also spent an unusually high $42 million on television production -- reflecting a ramp-up in production from two series last year to six this year, Vice Chairman Michael Burns said. Five are on the air and a sixth, "Crash," is in development. The company planned to spend $100 million to market seven major theatrical releases this fiscal year and expected to see $140 million in cumulative domestic box office from them, Burns said. Lions Gate also had a backlog of revenue from executed contracts for pay television and international sales of $138.5 million. The company reported a net loss for its fiscal first quarter ended June 30 of 21 cents per share on Tuesday. Analysts, on average, had expected a loss on an adjusted basis of 2 cents per share, or a net profit of 1 cent per share. "This happens every earnings call because the majority of the Street pays too much attention to EPS and not enough to free cash flow," Miller, who maintained a "strong buy" rating on the stock, said. "Q1 is always the worst quarter and they are on track to meet guidance." Shares of Lions Gate were down 6 percent, or 59 cents, at $9.46 in late morning trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

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indiedan
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posted September 14, 2005 05:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lions Gate bids to take over Image Ent.

DVD and compact disc producer Image Entertainment Inc. on Wednesday said it would consider an unsolicited takeover bid from Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., one of Hollywood's largest independent film studios. Image, which licenses and makes DVDs and CDs sold at major U.S. retailers, said in a written statement that it was not for sale. But it formed a special committee to evaluate the proposal and said it felt it was worth more than Lions Gate's current offer, which it did not detail. Shares of Image vaulted 44% to $4.33 in trading on the Inet electronic brokerage ahead of the opening bell on Wednesday. That suggests investors were valuing the company at about $92 million based on its approximately 21.25 million outstanding shares.

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