THE DEALMAKER: For Scott Packman, great dealmaking comes back to a simple, fundamental practice.
“One of the most important things I do is listen to people and hear what their true objectives are, and that allows me in a negotiation to help them achieve what they want while still achieving what I want,” says the exec VP, general counsel and secretary of MGM.
That focus has certainly served him well over the last several years. Packman was a key player in negotiating MGM’s new joint venture with Viacom, Paramount Pictures and Lionsgate, which will create a next-generation television channel and video-on-demand service. He also played a central role in negotiating the 2005 sale of MGM to a consortium composed of Providence, TPG, Comcast and Sony.
When Packman came to MGM in May 2002 as senior VP and deputy general counsel, he’d acquired substantial experience working within the entertainment industry at software company Creative Planet and at law firm O’Melveny & Myers.
Though Packman can’t point to one moment in his life when realized he had a gift for negotiation, he believes it might even be something passed on to him by his father, a tax attorney. “I think solving problems and figuring the way forward does run in my family,” he says.
KEY DEALS: Key player in MGM’s new joint venture with Viacom, Paramount and Lionsgate that will create a TV channel and video-on-demand service; central role in negotiating the 2005 sale of MGM to a consortium that includes Providence, TPG, Comcast and Sony.
DEALMAKER DOS: “It’s all about listening and understanding what the other side is after and really understanding what your side is after.”
DEALMAKER DON’TS: “Don’t lose objectivity. When you let emotions fly, you lose the ability to stay on your game and understand what others are seeking.”
TOP DEALMAKERS ENCOUNTERED: “There are so many people who have taught me things that it would be hard to pinpoint one or two, but certainly Harry Sloan is one of them.”