John Malone has completed a selloff of his stake in Lionsgate, with the studio’s chairman Mark Rachesky agreeing to purchase 2,399,571 Class A voting shares from the media mogul and his personal affiliated entities for $22.05 million.
Malone previously sold off a total of 517,437 Class A voting shares between September 23-30, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Thursday. It indicated Malone now “beneficially owns no shares of Class A Voting Shares” in the film and TV studio.
Rachesky via his MHR Fund Management Llc upped his stake to 22.1% with the deal, according to another SEC filing today.
The movement comes at a delicate moment for Lionsgate shares, which closed Thursday at $9.06, up a fraction. In 2019, they have plunged to multi-year lows after starting the year above $16. In early 2018, they cracked $35 a share after the influx of revenue from movie hits like Wonder, La-La Land and John Wick: Chapter 2.
The downward trajectory has put the company’s fate under scrutiny. For 20-plus years, it has pursued a course of growth as an independent company, pulling off a series of acquisitions and managing not to be the acquired one. But the longer the stock price remains in the $8-$10 range — where it has hovered since August — the closer potential buyers will circle.
Malone had been a member of Lionsgate’s board of directors, exiting that post in fall 2018 after a little more than three years. He had joined in February 2015 after Lionsgate and Starz, in which Malone had a majority stake, sealed a stock-swap agreement. (Lionsgate ended up purchasing Starz for $4.4 billion in cash and stock in December 2016.)