Mark Cuban turning activist shareholder at Reading International

Billionaire pressing for changes at embattled development firm

Mark Cuban and the Orpheum Theatre at 126 2nd Avenue in the East Village
Mark Cuban and the Orpheum Theatre at 126 2nd Avenue in the East Village

Billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is taking on the role of activist shareholder at Reading International, the developer and theater owner he holds a minority stake in, after filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday.

Cuban’s 13.1 percent voting stake in the company is no longer a passive investment, according to a 13D form he filed with the SEC. Investors file the form when planning to be “active,” or press for changes at a company.

Cuban also owns competing theater company Landmark Theatres, which owns and operates the Sunshine Cinema on the Lower East Side. His voting power at Reading International is second only to the estate and trusts of the company’s late chair and CEO James Cotter, according to the New York Post.

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Cotter’s son, James Jr., was installed as CEO after his father’s death in September, only to be ousted by a portion of the company’s board at the behest of his two older sisters.

Reading’s New York City properties include the Angelika Film Center in Noho, the Minetta Lane Theatre in Greenwich Village and the Orpheum Theatre in the East Village.

In April, a judge allowed off-Broadway show “Stomp” to break its lease at the Orpheum – its home of 21 years — due to lack of repairs. James Cotter Jr. blamed the outcome on his older sister Margaret’s mismanagement of the company’s theaters, which prompted the board’s removal of the younger Cotter. [NYP]Rey Mashayekhi