A sale of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 007’s home studio, to a Chinese buyer isn’t happening, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“Talks broke down between MGM and several Chinese companies late last year, an apparent casualty of China’s move to stanch capital outflows that has stalled the country’s shopping spree in Hollywood, according to people familiar with the matter,” the Journal reported.
“An MGM sale would have been among the biggest-ticket and highest-profile such acquisitions, but its failure to materialize is evidence of a twist ending that few in Hollywood expected,” according to the story by three Journal reporters.
Earlier, the New York Post reported that MGM was in talks with a Chinese buyer it didn’t identify. Both the Journal and Post are owned by News Corp., controlled by Rupert Muchoch.
Uncertainty at MGM would have an adverse effect on the 007 film franchise. MGM has been involved with Bond since it acquired United Artists in 1981. UA, in 1975, acquired half of the franchise after Eon Productions co-founder Harry Saltzman sold out because of financial troubles.
MGM emerged from bankruptcy in 2010 as a smaller company, unable to release its own films. MGM cuts deals with other studios to co-finance and release those movies, including the Bond series.
An MGM spokeswoman told the Journal that the studio wasn’t for sale.
Here’s an excerpt from the Journal story about the broader issues facing Hollywood and China:
The economic-policy changes in China come amid mounting protectionist rhetoric in the U.S. from the administration of President Donald Trump.
“We’ve heard from both [private-equity] firms and investment banks that China investment activity around [Hollywood] assets started to wane just prior to the election and is almost nonexistent now,” said Chris Fenton, a trustee of the U.S.-Asia Institute, which organizes congressional delegations to China, and president of DMG Entertainment, a media company headquartered in Beverly Hills and Beijing.
“No China entity wants to be the first to test” the heated rhetoric on the U.S. side and the capital controls on the Chinese side, he added.
The last four Bond films have actually been released by Sony Pictures. Sony’s most recent two-picture 007 deal expired with 2015’s SPECTRE.