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MGM/UA Under Kerkorian Meant 20 Years of Change

March 08, 1990

Since first buying a stake in what was then known as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. more than 20 years ago, investor Kirk Kerkorian has taken the studio through a series of financial transactions so bewildering that even he must occasionally be hard-pressed to sort them out. There have been buyouts, buy-ins, split-ups, restructurings, expansions, contractions and a never-ending string of executive changes.

Here are the most notable among them:


July 22--Kerkorian, with holdings in Western Airlines and a pair of Las Vegas casinos, announces tender offer for 17% stake in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., despite opposition of MGM Chairman Edgar Bronfman.

Oct. 14--Raises MGM stake to 37% with a second tender offer, effectively taking control of the studio.

Oct. 21--MGM names ex-CBS program chief James Aubrey as president and chief executive, replacing Bronfman and his regime.

Dec. 12--Aubrey moves corporate headquarters to Culver City from New York.


Jan. 14--MGM announces abortive plan to merge with 20th Century-Fox Film Corp.

Feb. 11--Announces plan to sell off 132 acres of its movie lot for about $20 million.


Jan. 18--Kerkorian boosts his MGM stake to 41.9% with tender offer.

October--Boosts stake to 48% with tender offer.


Sept. 17--MGM unveils plan to slash film production, close its movie distribution unit and concentrate on the soon-to-open MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.

Oct. 31--Kerkorian named vice chairman and chief executive, replacing James Aubrey.


Aug. 12--Kerkorian boosts holdings to 50.1% with tender offer.

Sept. 30--MGM announces planned stock swap that would effectively take the company private.

Dec. 11--MGM President Frank E. Rosenfelt named chief executive, succeeding Kerkorian.

Dec. 23--MGM cancels stock swap under Securities and Exchange Commission pressure.


March 29--"Rocky," nominated for 10 Oscars, wins the Best Picture award after surprise success at the box office, returning the studio to filmmaking profitability and prominence.


Fall--Kerkorian buys 5.5% stake in Columbia.

Nov. 20--Announces plan to launch tender offer for 1.75 million Columbia shares, or 20%, at $24 a share.

Dec. 14--Reaches standstill agreement with Columbia, promising not to boost his stake beyond 25.5% or to seek control for at least three years.


Jan. 15--Justice Department files antitrust suit seeking to block Kerkorian from holding Columbia stake while he also controls MGM.

April 19--Discloses having sold off 297,000 MGM shares to raise cash.

May--Purchases additional 214,400 shares of Columbia, raising stake to 688,000 shares, or 25%.

Aug. 2--Trial opens in Justice Department antitrust suit against Kerkorian.

Aug. 14--Court rules for Kerkorian.

Dec. 18--Ex-Columbia executive David Begelman is named president and chief operating officer of MGM's film division.


May 30--MGM approves spinoff of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Film Co. as separate company from MGM Grand Hotels Inc., saying the plan will boost film production.

Sept. 30--Kerkorian sues Columbia for ignoring stockholders' interests and violating an agreement with him.

Oct. 2--Columbia accuses Kerkorian of scheming with Nelson Bunker Hunt to gain control of Columbia.

Nov. 21--Fire at the MGM Grand hotel kills 84 and injures 600.


Feb. 18--Kerkorian sells his 25% stake in Columbia back to the company for $134 million.

May 21--Transamerica approves sale of United Artists to MGM for $380 million.


Feb. 8--Burdened with $675 million in debt from UA acquisition, newly named MGM-UA appoints Kerkorian lawyer Frank Rothman as chairman and chief executive.

April 6--MGM-UA plans to spin off part of its home video unit to public shareholders.

June 22--Sells pre-1950 United Artists films, including "Casablanca" and "The Maltese Falcon," to Warner Communications for $95 million.

July 12--Begelman resigns after releasing films that cost nearly $200 million to make and market but that returned only about $50 million from the box office.


Feb. 6--Frank Yablans is named vice chairman and chief operating officer of what is now called MGM/UA Entertainment Co.

Dec. 19--In a bid to take company private, Kerkorian offers about $375 million for 49.9% of MGM/UA that he doesn't own.


Jan. 12--In the face of lawsuits and pressure to offer higher price, Kerkorian withdraws offer to buy rest of MGM/UA.

June 8--Joins Saul P. Steinberg in a tender offer for 49% of Disney at $67.50 a share; also offers to pay $72.50 a share, or $2.75 billion, if Disney drops its deal to buy Gibson Greetings.

June 11--Disney buys out Steinberg, ending the Kerkorian/Steinberg bid.

Dec. 14--MGM/UA announces plan to reacquire the 15% of MGM/UA Home Entertainment it doesn't own.


Jan. 21--Announces plan to split into separate MGM and United Artists filmmaking units, each with a full slate of movies. Alan Ladd Jr. joins company as vice chairman and president of United Artists.

March 12--Yablans resigns as vice chairman and president of MGM Film unit.

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