Place your bids on Leo the Lion
Want to own a vital slab of movie history? Well, you could try tracking down the sledge from Citizen Kane or the ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz. Alternately, you could put in a tender for one of the most historic of Hollywood’s studios.
Metro Goldwyn Mayer, currently in debt to the tune of $3.7 billion, has been put up for sale and bids are expected to start coming in within the next week.
Despite that heavy financial liability and the sobering fact that the studio only released one film this year (the iffy remake of Fame) MGM does have a great many assets worth coveting. Secure the company and you get hold of the James Bond series, the Pink Panther franchise, half-ownership of the upcoming Hobbit films, a back-catalogue of 4,000 titles and, of course, the rights to that famous logo featuring Leo the Lion.
This being the digital age, the bidding will take place in a “virtual room”, a secure website that allows potential purchasers access to the company’s internal financial data. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is, inevitably, circling the property, and Lionsgate Pictures – smallish, but mobile – also is believed to be interested. The most likely purchaser is, however, the already enormous Time Warner. Analysts reckon the conglomerate would need to fork out somewhere between $1.5 billion and $2.5 billion.
So, if you have that sort of change down the back of the sofa, you’ll want to get your offer in pronto.
Box-office gold: Whoever takes on MGM gets the priceless James Bond library, including Sean Connery in From Russia With Love (1963)