MGM watch: studio seeks would-be moguls

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., which controls half the James Bond franchise, refuses to go down without a fight.

On, Ronald Glover and Michael White write the following:

May 7 (Bloomberg) — Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.’s creditors, unsatisfied with proposals to buy or restructure the debt-laden film studio, have contacted Hollywood executives who may be willing to run it, people with knowledge of the situation said.

Former News Corp. President Peter Chernin, ex-Viacom Inc. executive Jonathan Dolgen and the founders of Spyglass Entertainment met with lenders in recent weeks, said four people who declined to be identified because the talks are private.

Five creditors have amassed 51 percent of Los Angeles-based MGM’s $3.7 billion in bank debt and are seeking advice about managing the studio, said two people. Under options being discussed, the studio would receive $500 million or more in fresh capital, they said. Creditors deemed earlier offers for the studio too low, people close to the talks said on March 25.


Extended talks have been held with Spyglass founders Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber, said one person. The Los Angeles-based company’s production credits include “Star Trek” and “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.”

Outside offers to buy or restructure the studio are on hold, as is a proposal to restructure under current management led by turnaround artist Stephen Cooper, said one person.

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How does this affect future 007 movies? A lot of Bond fans are hoping MGM will roll over and die, to permit Eon Productions boss folks Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli the opportunity to cut a deal with another studio.

Our guess? (And it’s only a guess): MGM isn’t going to follow the favored scenario of Bond fans and will try to survive however it can. That, in turn, makes it extemely hard that Bond 23’s development will resolve itself in time for a 2011 release. Also, with action movies lining up for a summer 2012 release (including a new Batman movie by Warner Bros.), the earliest Bond 23 may come out is fall/Christmas 2012. Stay tuned.