Thunderbird Entertainment sees proxy battle heating up with activist investor Voss Capital – The Hollywood Reporter

Producer Thunderbird Entertainment, which backs several projects filming Vancouver for US studios and streamers, has dismissed a heating proxy battle with activist investor Voss Capital.

“Thunderbird believes this proxy fight is a waste of time, energy and resources,” the company, led by CEO Jennifer Twiner McCarron, said in a statement Thursday after postponing its annual shareholder meeting from Dec. 6 to early 2023 would have. The Canadian producer added that Texas-based Voss Capital, which owns 13.3 percent of Thunderbird, “erroneously” argued that shareholder value could be unlocked by putting the company up for sale.

Voss, responding in a Nov. 18 letter to Thunderbird investors, pointed out that Toronto-based film and television producer Entertainment One had been put up for sale by parent company Hasbro a day earlier because of proof of shareholder value was not maximized by the current Thunderbird boardroom. “This [Hasbro] The announcement is just the latest example among dozens of Thunderbird peers who correctly recognize and capitalize on the current industry environment,” argued Voss.

The US hedge fund has nominated a list of six directors for Thunderbird’s boardroom, including Heather Conway, most recently executive director of the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, to replace the current board members.

Seated in Thunderbird’s boardroom are CEO McCarron, Lionsgate founder Frank Giustra and interim chair Marni Wieshofer, a former executive vice president of corporate development at Lionsgate, and media investor Jerome Levy, former vice chairman of Archie Comic Publications, which became a director earlier this year.

Thunderbird’s Atomic Cartoons division produces animated content for a variety of Hollywood studios and streamers, including The last children on earth for Netflix, scripted series like Kim’s convenience for the CBC and Netflix and Reginald the Vampire for Syfy and Amazon Prime in Canada. The company’s unscripted pipeline includes series like The Curse of the Dead for History Channel and after the storm for discovery.

At the end of the first quarter on September 30, 2022, Thunderbird had 28 TV series in various stages of production. In that list, ten shows were shows where Thunderbird held the IP rights, while 18 were projects produced by the Canadian company for a service fee. Like other Canadian indie producers with ties to the US market, Thunderbird has worked to increase the number of projects it takes on where it owns the intellectual property over production services it doesn’t own.

The call for a leadership change at Thunderbird was backed by Dallas-based Railroad Ranch Capital Management, another key investor, which issued a statement on Nov. 15 in which the private equity firm said the Canadian company had “a lack of… demonstrated urgency in addressing our concerns, which is why we were pleased to see Voss Capital’s nomination to a competing list of directors. We are confident that an improved board can help close the valuation gap and create value for Thunderbird shareholders.”

Shares of Thunderbird fell 1 cent in midday trade on Friday to $3.34, or 22 percent from a 52-week high of $5.09 on Dec. 3, 2021.


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