Anybody want a billion dollar franchise?
In a day that saw a massive restructuring at Walt Disney Studios with at least 20 layoffs in theatrical marketing and distribution a report tonight indicates that long-troubled MGM has lost its battle to stay solvent.
According to Variety, the studio that was sold to investors for $5 billion only five years ago will essentially be “auctioned off” over the next few weeks. Different suitors could buy the company’s historic library while another investor may purchase it’s lion logo.
MGM has been attempting to restructure its massive debt since this summer, but the trade reports the banks have effectively lost their patience with the attempt to revivie the studio.
The library would be incredibly valuable if it includes the rights to the lucrative James Bond franchise that was leased to Sony Pictures for “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace.” In fact, one studio or investor may even bid to acquire just the rights to 007 or even the popular “Stargate” television franchise. Considering the company is $3.7 billion in the hole anything is possible.
The studio has been ramping up production over the past year and those features could also be acquired individually. Upcoming releases on MGM’s slate include the Joss Whedon-produced “A Cabin in the Woods,” the comedy “Hot Tub Time Machine,” Kevin James’ “The Zookeeper” and a remake of “Red Dawn” which is currently in production. The studio is also co-financing “The Hobbit,” but that was contingent on their financial restructuring. It’s possible either a new partner could buy MGM’s right to co-finance or the rights to the franchise will revert solely to Warner Bros.
Anticipated suitors include Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox.
MGM did not respond to a request to comment at publication.