MGM Officially Considering Selling, If Things Don't Get Better
by Alex Billington
November 14, 2009
Back in September, we reported that MGM (aka Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) was "on the verge of bankruptcy" and was asking for emergency funds to say alive. The studio has finally made announcements that indicate that they are actually going up for sale. Variety and Nikki Finke confirmed the news. "MGM also said today it is beginning a process to explore various strategic alternatives including operating as a standalone entity, forming strategic partnerships and evaluating a potential sale of the Company." It looks like it's the end of an era for MGM once and for all. So will The Hobbit be caught in crossfire, too? We're not entirely sure.
The announcement came following a meeting of MGM debtholders, who agreed to extend forbearance on debt payments until January 31st, the second extension that they've been given. Apparently MGM owes some $3.7 billion in debt and brought in Stephen Cooper to replace Harry Sloan as CEO and attempt to recover the company. It sounds like, despite owning some 4000 titles in their library, Cooper wasn't able to get them on the right track, and has decided to consider a sale instead. From my standpoint, I think that's the best decision they could make, similar to how New Line became a part of Warner Brothers years ago.
The biggest franchises that MGM owns are James Bond and The Hobbit, but we don't know what will happen to either of those if they do sell or partner with another studio. Normally we don't cover this kind of news given all the technicalities surrounding running a business, but we'll do our best to keep you updated!