MGM Holdings Inc. exploring sale of movie studio with huge library of content: WSJ

Studio famous for 'James Bond' franchise has tapped Morgan Stanley and LionTree LLC to handle sale

MGM Holdings Inc., the movie studio behind the “James Bond” franchise, is exploring a sale, according to people familiar with the matter, betting that its library of content will prove attractive to companies pursuing growth in streaming video.

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Closely held MGM has tapped investment banks Morgan Stanley and LionTree LLC and begun a formal sale process, the people said. The company has a market value of around $5.5 billion, based on privately traded shares and including debt, some of the people said.

The studio has contemplated a sale at various points over the past few years, but potential suitors have previously balked at the price MGM was seeking. MGM is hopeful the current process will generate interest beyond Hollywood’s traditional players, from international media companies, private-equity investors and blank-check companies, one of the people familiar with the matter said.

MGM Holdings Inc., the movie studio behind the “James Bond” franchise, is exploring a sale, according to people familiar with the matter. (Photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

MGM’s biggest shareholder, New York hedge fund Anchorage Capital Group, has come under pressure in recent years from weak performance and defecting clients, and its illiquid investment in MGM has become a larger percentage of its hedge fund as it shrinks.

MGM’s exploration of a possible sale comes amid a bidding war for content to fill a new wave of streaming-video services. MGM’s library of titles could make it an attractive target, its investors say.

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The film studio has produced or distributed movies and TV shows including the “Rocky” franchise, “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Vikings.” It has struck deals to license movies from its library, including “Silence of the Lambs,” “Dances with Wolves,” “Rain Man” and “The Terminator.” Click for more at WSJ.com