COVID's first major casualty: MGM may sell entire content library
It sounds, reads, and seems too awful to be true, but MGM is planning to sell off its assets, including the entire content library. The company, named MGM Holdings Inc., is in talks with investment banks Morgan Stanley and LionTree LLC to facilitate the deal in the market to buy everything it has ever created. Reportedly, the company has a value of $5.5 bn.
It's the era of the streaming giants, MGM understands that, and is pitching the sale in the hope of big streaming behemoths to mine their pockets and pay for a content library that has seen unparalleled success for ages. The value of $5.5bn includes the company's private share prices and debt. Sources said that the 96-year-old enterprise has already started a formal sale process.
Notably, the studio had taken a huge loan for the 25th James Bond film, No Time to Die, starring Daniel Craig. The movie was supposed to release in April 2020, but faced two successive delays to November 2020 and now April 2, 2021, in the hopes of getting people to throng theaters. This has cost MGM a monthly loss of $1mn in interest.
MGM wanted to sell Craig's last Bond film for an eye-popping price of $600mn to streamers, but didn't find takers in this market, where every major studio is incurring losses, even through tentpoles. Plus, it's not solely MGM's decision as everyone's profit depends on it. Known for James Bond, Rocky, Robocop, Pink Panther, Tom and Jerry and other successful franchises, resuscitating MGM looks tough.
The studio has been battling bankruptcy since long and its stakeholders expressed interest in selling it as early as in 2010. The media company had a debt of over $4bn then, and was in talks with Indian business conglomerate Sahara, which had pegged a price of $2bn to buy out the former's debt. Other interested buyers were Time Warner Inc. and MGM's rival, Lionsgate.