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MGM headed for sale

Studio library, logo may be auctioned off soon

MGM may be the best known logo in the entertainment business, but the company seems headed for another possible garage sale.

Several sources say they expect that MGM will essentially be auctioned off within the next few weeks.

This would mean that a major, such as Time Warner, could buy the MGM-UA library while another entity might acquire the logo, and yet another deal could be made for United Artists. Sources speculated that Kirk Kerkorian, who has already bought and sold MGM twice, might buy the logo once again.

Last summer Harry Sloan was bounced as MGM’s CEO and Stephen Cooper, a specialist in restructuring companies (Krispy Kreme was one of his projects) started meeting with bankers with the aim of restructuring some $3.7 billion in debt. There was speculation that the combined assets of MGM may now yield as little as $1.5 billion in the present market.

The various equity owners of MGM, including several private equity firms, have already written down their $5 billion acquisition, which closed in 2004.

MGM’s library contains 4.000 titles, but some specialists in film libraries consider its list of titles to be geriatric.

Any sort of auction would need approval of a two-thirds majority of the bondholders, and a couple of the bondholders insist they have not been contacted as yet. Some sources believe a pre-packaged bankruptcy is still an option, and there is still an expectation that Time-Warner might make a last eleventh hour bid.

Neither Cooper nor MGM would comment.

MGM’s released only a remake of “Fame” this year. For 2010, it’s opening two comedies — “Hot Tub Time Machine” in March and “The Zookeeper” in October — and a remake of “Red Dawn” in November.

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