While MGM is awaiting the theatrical release of its latest Bond flick No Time to Die, the studio is starting to think that there’s no time like the present to sell. MGM Holdings Inc. is reportedly “exploring” a sale of its studio, which is behind franchises like James Bond, The Lord of the Rings, and more.
The Wall Street Journal (via Variety) reports that MGM has recruited Morgan Stanley and LionTree LLC to advise on the process of a formal sale of its studio, believing that its library of content, which includes co-ownership of the Bond franchise, would make it a hot commodity for companies looking to expand its streaming sectors.
Per WSJ, MGM has contemplated a sale a few times before over the past few years, but potential buyers had balked at the price the studio was seeking. But the company hopes their luck will be better this time around, as the market has expanded “beyond Hollywood’s traditional players” to international media companies, private-equity investors, blank-check companies, and of course, streamers.
MGM certainly has an impressive library that any streamer would be happy to get their hands on. With over 4,000 titles and 17,000 hours of TV programming, the studio owns beloved film franchises like Rocky and The Lord of the Rings, and TV shows like The Handmaid’s Tale and Vikings. Several popular MGM films like The Silence of the Lambs, Rain Man, and The Terminator are in regular rotation between streaming services.
The streaming wars are reaching a new peak in the wake of both WarnerMedia and Disney+ dropping massive announcements. First, WarnerMedia shattered the industry by announcing the entire Warner Bros. 2021 film slate, including Dune and The Suicide Squad, would debut day-and-date in theaters and HBO Max. Then Disney+ announced an enormous slate of Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, and Pixar titles for its streaming platform. All this as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic keeps most theaters shuttered.
MGM has felt the blow from theater closings, with its 25th installment of the Bond franchise, No Time to Die, delayed several times to huge financial losses. The studio has already had a brush with bankruptcy as recently as 2010, and MGM’s biggest shareholder, New York hedge fund Anchorage Capital Group, has come under pressure in recent years “from weak performance and defecting clients,” WSJ reports.
WSJ reports that Morgan Stanley and LionTree LLC have begun a formal sale process, but it’s unclear where the winds are blowing on potential buyers. As with the sale of 20th Century Fox to Disney, it will be a major loss when MGM, one of the oldest film studios in the world, loses its standing as one of the last major traditional players in Hollywood.
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