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COMPANY TOWN

Seagram, MGM Renew Talks on PolyGram Library

Movies: Pressure building for parties to conclude deal on 1,500-film archive by the weekend.

October 21, 1998|CLAUDIA ELLER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. and Seagram Co. have revived talks over the sale of PolyGram Filmed Entertainment's movie library.

Two weekends ago, MGM owner Kirk Kerkorian walked away from the bargaining table when negotiations for the 1,500-title library collapsed because the parties couldn't agree on a price and structure for the deal.

Kerkorian originally offered to pay nearly $400 million for the entire library, with plans to then sell the ITC portion of the catalog to Britain's Carlton Communications for about $100 million.

At the time, Seagram said it wasn't interested in slicing off pieces of the library to different buyers. But the company--under financial pressure to begin unloading the assets of PolyGram Filmed Entertainment--decided to reconsider Kerkorian's all-cash offer.

Kerkorian would like to conclude a deal by Friday, which is the long-scheduled date for MGM's proposed rights offering to investors. In that case, MGM would simply have to amend its filing by increasing the size of its offering to include the acquisition price of the library. It becomes a more cumbersome issue for MGM if things drag on beyond Friday.

MGM's latest bid for the PolyGram catalog, excluding the ITC titles, is less than $300 million, said sources familiar with the talks.

Seagram is now hoping to sell the ITC catalog, which includes 350 film titles, including "On Golden Pond," "Sophie's Choice" and "The Big Easy" and 9,000 hours of TV programming, for as much as $120 million, sources said.

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