MGM update: 007 main asset of interest to would-be buyers

As Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer management considers its options, it’s interesting to note how few assets MGM has right now except its half interest in the James Bond franchise.

For example, in this Nov. 20 story on there’s an interesting reference about 007:

MGM’s only new release this year, a remake of the 1980 film “Fame,” generated $41.7 million in worldwide ticket sales, according to Box Office Mojo, a researcher based in Sherman Oaks, California. A new James Bond film is in development and slated for release in 2011. According to Michael Wilson, the producer of the Bond films, there is currently no production scheduled for the film.

“MGM has done such a poor job of refreshing the library. It’s a wasting asset apart from the Bond franchise,” said Harrigan. The latter quote is from Matthew Harrigan, an analyst at Wunderlich Securities, who told Bloomberg that MGM is worth $1.6 billion to $1.7 billion.

(To try to clarify: the film library owned by MGM is mostly the old United Artists film library plus films MGM has release the past decade or so. The Bond franchise was started under UA. The classic MGM film library — Gone With The Wind and other classic movies was acquired by Ted Turner in the 1980s and then acquired by Time Warner when it bought Turner’s business interests.)

Bottom line (as executives like to say): Bond will be a major part of whatever business deal occurs with shaky MGM.

As if to drive home that point, Bloomberg’s television arm used clips from Quantum of Solace this week as a teaser before a commercial to promote a story about MGM’s plight.

UPDATE: A Reuters story carried on the Commander Bond Web site says MGM is sending confidentiality agreements to 20 would-be buyers including Time Warner and News Corp.