Kerkorian continuing stock spree

NEW YORK — Kirk Kerkorian continues to be a major buyer of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer stock, he revealed in an SEC filing Thanksgiving eve, showing he upped his stake in the Lion to 64.4% in buying over the previous week.

The filing showed that Kerkorian is paying the highest prices for MGM stock and is sometimes the dominant buyer of stock, continuing a pattern he set from the day MGM went public Nov. 13.

Between Nov. 20 and Nov. 25, he bought 748,600 shares for $15.2 million, the filing said. The exec paid up to $21.18 for the stock, often paying above the market prices.

On Nov. 25, for instance, Kerkorian bought 266,300 shares — 63% of the total for the day — and pushed the price up to the day’s high of $21.18, above its closing price for the day of $20.93. Similarly, on Nov. 24 Kerkorian’s buying accounted for 67% of the total stock traded.

According to the exec’s SEC filings, he was in the market buying stock every day but two from the day MGM started trading Nov. 13 to Nov. 25, when he prepared the latest filing. MGM stock closed down 25¢ to $21.62 Friday.

His latest buying increases Kerkorian’s total investment in MGM to $986 million, for a total of 42.39 million shares.

The motivation for Kerkorian’s buying can only be to support the stock price, which has only risen above the $20 offering price in the past 10 days. How long he plans to keep buying is unclear. A spokesman for Kerkorian declined comment Friday, citing securities restrictions related to the public offering that are still in effect.

Kerkorian’s buying has one effect: By drying up the amount of stock available to the public, it will make the stock move up much more sharply if investor interest does increase. And that could happen if the upcoming Bond pic “Tomorrow Never Dies” begins to generate some positive buzz.

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