MGM Holdings has agreed to pay $260 million to former CEO Gary Barber, three months after the executive was fired unexpectedly, in exchange for his remaining equity stake.Privately held MGM said Thursday that Barber's stake consisted of 274,392 shares of common stock and 3,883,529 stock options, which were equivalent to 2,302,572 shares of common stock on a net basis. It also said that Barber has agreed to customary standstill provisions with respect to MGM-related matters for a three-year period.MGM said...
Being at the helm of a classic Hollywood studio that has weathered its share of financial hardships isn’t easy, but Gary Barber proves again and again he’s up to the task of reinventing MGM. His latest masterstroke came in April 2017, when he agreed to purchase the stakes Lionsgate and Paramount had in cable network Epix for nearly $1 billion. He’s also pledged to up content spend significantly this year to make sure its programming pipeline stays humming, the key to staying competitive in a very cluttered space.
Epix capped a series of moves going back years that have have the MGM lion roaring again. Barber streamlined the 4,000-plus-film title company and then expanded selectively. The biggest leap was completing a $625 million mega buyout of Mark Burnett’s prolific production business in 2016 to pump up MGM’s TV programing. MGM also rolls out TV channels and on-demand services stocked with its movies.
In mid-2016, MGM firmed up a five-year, $1 billion line of bank credit, coming full circle from its 2010 bankruptcy. To provide new movies and TV programs to freshen its library, the studio revives filmmaking mostly in partnerships, although results are mixed.
MGM’s thinly-traded stock climbs as adjusted EBITDA profit soared to over $400 million annually in 2014 and 2015. Barber can keep building, seek a merger or have MGM go public down the road.
Barber joined in 2010 after MGM emerged from bankruptcy where creditors took over. Earlier, he held senior posts at Spyglass Entertainment (“27 Dresses “) that he co-founded, Morgan Creek and Vestron. He also produced movies and has a finance background. Barber earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from University of Witwatersrand in South Africa.