Billionaire investor Carl Icahn said Thursday he has boosted his stake in Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. to just under 32 percent as he tries to take over the movie studio.
He is still short of a controling interest, though investors have two weeks to accept his $7-per-share offer.
Icahn said shareholders tendered 15.6 million shares by his initial Wednesday deadline, bringing his stake to 31.8 percent, up from 18.6 percent. Icahn will be paying about $109 million for the shares.
Lions Gate, which has resisted Icahn's bid, declared victory, noting most shareholders have held out.
The company also said it is close to getting a waiver from its lenders to make sure Icahn's investment doesn't trigger a default. It is technically a violation of the company's credit agreements if any one investor has more than 20 percent of its shares.
Along with the tender offer, Icahn is putting up his own slate of candidates to replace the company's board. He argues the company has been mismanaged and has lashed out at the board for allowing its stock to sink over the past few years.
Lions Gate, which is based in Vancouver, British Columbia, but has most of its operations in Santa Monica, Calif., backed the Oscar-winning movie "Precious: Based on the Novel `Push' By Sapphire." It also owns the TV Guide network and produces television shows, including "Weeds" and "Mad Men."
The company's stock rose 6 cents to $6.99 in morning trading Thursday.
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