MGM watch: studio extends creditor vote 1 week to Oct. 29

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. extended by one week, to Oct. 29, the time for its creditors to vote on a plan where Spyglass Entertainment’s top executives would take control of MGM after the studio went through a “prepackaged” bankruptcy. The move further delays when the fate of Bond 23 can be settled.

The press release WHICH YOU CAN VIEW FOR YOURSELF BY CLICKING HERE, doesn’t give much in the way of details.

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 15 /PRNewswire/ — Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. (MGM), today distributed a supplement to the solicitation package that was originally distributed to MGM’s secured lenders on October 7, 2010. The supplement contains additional details to the Company’s financial information included in the original solicitation materials. In order to provide lenders sufficient time to review the supplemental information, MGM has extended the voting deadline by one week to 5:00 PM ET on October 29, 2010.

Two days earlier, Lions Gate Entertainment, which is allied with investor Carl Icahn in making a play for MGM, said why creditors should cast their lot with that company. YOU CAN READ THAT PRESS RELEASE BY CLICKING HERE. Here’s part of the sales pitch:

This is a unique, once in a lifetime opportunity to create a dynamic, forward-looking studio that unlocks tremendous potential value for Lionsgate’s shareholders and MGM’s various stakeholders,” said Lionsgate Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jon Feltheimer and Vice Chairman Michael Burns. “A Lionsgate merger with MGM is a natural fit that would bring together two of the most powerful libraries in the world, create significant cost savings, consolidate our mutual global channel operations and generate significant incremental revenue and cash flow. It would create a combined entity with enough scale to leverage all of our distribution platforms worldwide.”

MGM watch: Lions Gate offers to combine operations with MGM

The Associated Press IN A STORY YOU CAN VIEW BY CLICKING HERE reports that Lions Gate Entertainment is offering to combine its operations with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. Here’s how the story starts:

NEW YORK — Lions Gate is offering to combine its business with MGM in a deal supported by billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who owns stakes in both studios.

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. said Tuesday it has sent a proposal for a combination with financially troubled Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Lions Gate said the combined company would be owned by its shareholders and by MGM’s creditors. These include Icahn.

Terms weren’t disclosed, though a report in the Los Angeles Times said the deal would give MGM’s lenders a 55 percent in the combined company. Lions Gate and MGM declined to comment.

Spyglass Entertainment on Oct. 7 began seeking support from MGM creditors for a plan where Spyglass’s top executives would take command of MGM after a “pre-packaged” bankruptcy. MGM’s secured creditors (meaning they have some sort of collateral) have until Oct. 22 to weigh in on that proposal.

For 007 fans, more fun, more complications. Remember the line in 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever where Willard Whyte played Monopoly “with real buildings”? 007’s fate depends on people like that.

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.

MGM watch: Studio gets another debt extension

For James Bond fans who don’t like Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., July 14 wasn’t a good day. The studio, coping with $3.7 billion of debt got another extension where it doesn’t have to make payments. MGM put out this news release indicating the company would live to die another day:

MGM said today its lenders agreed to extend the forbearance period and
therefore will not seek remedies in connection with the nonpayment of interest
and principal due on the company’s bank debt, including the revolving credit
facility, until September 15, 2010.

That’s the sixth extension granted by lenders and would indicate the fate of the studio, which owns half of the 007 film franchise, won’t be settled until nearly the end of summer. As things stand now, no more work on Bond 23 will occur until MGM’s situation is resolved.

However, this week, there were other developments., in a story by Ronald Grover and Michael White THAT YOU CAN VIEW BY CLICKING HERE, reported that Lions Gate Entertainment is sniffing around at acquiring MGM.

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., the independent film and TV producer, has approached creditors of ailing Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. to help shape a plan to acquire the studio, two people with knowledge of the situation said.

Lions Gate Vice Chairman Michael Burns has been meeting in New York with investors who hold some of MGM’s $3.7 billion debt, according to the people, who requested anonymity because the discussions are private.

Lions Gate has its own issues. The company has been feuding with one shareholder, Carl Icahn. The Bloomberg story adds this detail:

Any agreement to buy Los Angeles-based MGM, which won another loan reprieve from creditors today, would have to be approved by Carl Icahn, Lions Gate’s largest shareholder. He took a 10-day break from efforts to gain control of Vancouver- based Lions Gate’s board so the company could make a case for certain acquisitions. That standstill agreement expires on July 19. Debt-hobbled MGM is co-owner of the James Bond franchise.

Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported reported that Spyglass Entertainment may be a leading contender to gain control of MGM. Meanwhile, Time Warner Inc. earlier this year submitted a bid and said as recently as May that it was still interested at the right price.

The bottom line: MGM’s future, and James Bond’s, are still unsettled.

MGM update: one bidder drops out

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., which makes the “Saw” horror film series, has dropped out of the bidding for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., according to

MGM controls half of the James Bond franchise, and thus MGM’s fate will determine how quickly, or even if, there will be a Bond 23. According to the Bloomberg story, Time Warner remains one of the potential new owners.