Place your bids on Leo the Lion

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - News -

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)

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