James Bond, Hobbit Lift MGM Earnings, Share Repurchase Boosted

Strong results reported in films, TV

James Bond and “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” have boosted profits for MGM Holdings Inc., the parent company of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which reported sharply higher third quarter earnings of $17 million, up $23 million from the year-ago period.

In a bullish sign, MGM also disclosed its board has also doubled the size of its share repurchase plan to $150 million. The Lion had unveiled the repurchase plan in September.

Adjusted EBITDA more than doubled to $64 million and third-quarter profits posted a gain compared to the 2012 quarter after excluding a one-time benefit from sale of its Latin American pay-TV assets to Chellomedia last year. MGM has seen higher earnings this year in the wake of strong performances by James Bond film “Skyfall” and the first “Hobbit” film.

Third-quarter revenues gained 43% to $243 million. TV television licensing revenues jumped 84% to $76 million, led by initial pay TV and subscription VOD revenue for “Skyfall” worldwide and “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” internationally.

“We had another impressive quarter and are extremely pleased with our results year to date, which show the earnings power of our growing fresh content pipeline in both film and television.” said MGM topper Gary Barber added. “Our Board of Directors is displaying its continued confidence in the company and its prospects by increasing the authorization under our stock repurchase plan by $75 million to an aggregate of $150 million and the Board will continue to assess the size of its repurchase plan over time.”

Shares of privately held MGM Holdings, which are traded over the counter, rose $4.25 to an all-time high of $66 on Thursday.

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