MGM watch: WSJ says Icahn trying to force MGM, Lions Gate merger

This is more than enough to make a Bond fan’s head explode. After a day of various media reports (see previous post), News Corp.’s Wall Street Journal is reporting that investor Carl Icahn is trying to force a merger between Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. and Lions Gate Entertainment.

The above paragraph has a link to the entire story. The article by Mike Spector and Lauren A.E. Schuker starts like this:

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn bought a significant chunk of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.’s debt and is pushing the beleaguered film studio to merge with rival Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., said people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Icahn is Lions Gate’s largest shareholder, at just under 33%.

Mr. Icahn told people close to MGM earlier this week he holds somewhere between $400 million and $500 million of MGM’s debt outstanding and is continuing to build his position in the studio, they said. The purchases give Mr. Icahn about 10% of MGM’s outstanding debt.

So to recap:

— MGM has been pursuing a complicated deal with Spyglass Entertainment where Spyglass’s top executives would take command of MGM, the company would then pursue a “prepackaged” bankruptcy to try to wipe out its $3.7 billion debt and MGM would just produce TV shows and movies and cut deals with other studios to release any movies (like James Bond movies) the studio is involved with.

— One News Corp. outlet (the New York Post) reported that Time Warner was boosting/was thinking of boosting its bid for MGM. Another News Corp. outlet (Dow Jones Newswires) reported that Time Warner denied that story.

— One News Corp. outlet (the Post again) said Icahn was mulling getting involved, while another (the Journal story story quoted above) said he was already involved.

By the way, we forgot to mention that News Corp. is run by Rupert Murdoch who, supposedly, was one of the inspirations for media magnate/Bond villain Elliott Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies. The late Robert Maxwell and Ted Turner were also mentioned as inspirations for the character played by Jonathan Pryce.

We’ve said it many times, but we’ll repeat: all of this matters for James Bond movie fans because MGM controls half of the 007 franchise. For Bond fans, it’s a case of pass the Alka-Seltzer. It’s even more reason not to count on attending the premier of Bond 23 anytime soon.

One Response

  1. […] to be in a state of permanent flux. And we 007 fans want is some good news for Bond 23.  https://hmssweblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/30/mgm-watch-wsj-says-icahn-trying-to-force-mgm-lions-gate-m… This is more than enough to make a Bond fan’s head explode. After a day of various media reports […]

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