Lion’s last roar likely to be heard April 1

Sony sets the date for MGM sale

MGM’s last moments in its current incarnation finally have a date attached: April 1.

Described by insiders as a “target area,” April Fool’s Day is nonetheless the date cited for when the $4.8 billion sale of MGM to a consortium of investors led by Sony and Comcast is expected to be finalized. Things are moving more briskly than expected. Until now, the anticipated closing date was over the summer.

The deal will be sealed only after the acquisition receives regulatory approval from European authorities. At that point MGM’s film development will shift to Sony, and MGM as a private company will begin its commitment — as per the buyout agreement — to producing six films a year under Sony management.

The closing of the deal also means that most of MGM’s creative staff will be out of jobs. Last week the Lion announced that chief financial officer Daniel Taylor would head MGM as prexy once the sale is complete — though there’s a chance that he’ll be joined by another senior exec — indicating that in its new life the studio will exist primarily as an operating entity.

MGM CEO Alex Yemenidjian and chief operating officer Chris McGurk will be leaving the studio once the deal closes.

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