Time Warner criticizes MGM, 007’s home studio

Time Warner has been reported as one of the potential buyers for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the studio that controls half of the James Bond franchise. But Time Warner’s reported bid was far less than the $3.7 billion MGM owes. Anyway, Time Warner’s CEO, Jeffrey L. Bewkes, was asked about the ongoing MGM saga during an Aug. 4 conference call. Here’s part of what he had to say, according to a transcript that Time Warner filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission:

“From what we read in the paper, it sounds like they’re moving in a different
direction and it sounds pretty inept to us.

All along we’ve said we didn’t need this. We feel comfortable of course with
our strategic position….We haven’t really had the kind of instructions that would enable us to confirm whatever the value of MGM is because we’d have to go into a more constructive process than been invited into.”

Those comments suggest that Time Warner is, at the very least, tiring of dealing with MGM. How does this affect 007? Well, back in June, Bloomberg Businessweek, in a story by Ronald Grover and Michael White, said Eon Productions and its leaders, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, were wanting Time Warner’s Warner Bros. unit to stay in the hunt to acquire MGM. An excerpt:

The Broccoli family has urged Warner Bros. to stay in the bidding, said three people with knowledge of the situation. Scott Rowe, a spokesman for Warner Bros., declined to comment, as did Susie Arons, an outside spokeswoman for MGM. Stephanie Wenborn, a spokeswoman for Broccoli and Wilson’s London-based Eon Productions, also declined to comment.

If that’s correct, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to wonder if Wilson and Broccoli would have found the Time Warner CEO’s comments disappointing. Still, the MGM situation — which led to development of Bond 23 being indefinitely suspended — hasn’t been resolved. For Bond fans, there are still far more questions than answers.