Sources: Image Narrowly Retains Incumbent Board11 Oct, 2006 By: Erik Gruenwedel
High-ranking sources familiar with the contentious Oct. 10 proxy election for control of Image Entertainment's board confirm that the distributor's incumbent slate did emerge victorious over a rival slate from Lionsgate.
Sources said Image received 46% of the shareholder vote, while Lionsgate, which is Image's second-largest shareholder, received 37% of the vote, including candidate Duke Bristow, who tallied 7.9 million votes.
The UCLA economics professor was the lone candidate from either slate who received recommendations from separate third-party proxy advisory firms.
At deadline, the official results from the Oct. 10 elections had not been certified, and representatives from both Image and Lionsgate were legally bound from commenting on the proceedings.
Despite the combative nature of the pre-election rhetoric between Image and Lionsgate (which twice unsuccessfully tried to acquire Image), many observers believed Lionsgate faced an uphill battle defeating an entrenched Image board that included CEO Martin Greenwald.
With Image management and institutional Image supporters Metro Media and Standard Broadcasting accounting for 42% of shareholder votes, the fact that Image garnered only 4% of the vote from other shareholders would appear to indicate that many sided with Lionsgate's slate.
“That's a significant repudiation of Image's senior management,” said one source.
Thomas K. Arnold contributed to this report.