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Sony-MGM Deal Cleared by Regulators

December 10, 2004|From a Times Staff Writer

A consortium led by Sony Corp. on Thursday cleared U.S. antitrust hurdles in its efforts to buy the historic film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.

The Sony group, which includes Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group, Comcast Corp. and DLJ Merchant Banking Partners, issued a joint statement with Century City-based MGM saying they had received no requests for additional information from the Justice Department under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976.

Approval of the deal had been expected.

MGM's acquisition, valued at about $4.9 billion in cash and assumed debt, is still subject to the OK of MGM shareholders Dec. 17. Approval is expected because billionaire Kirk Kerkorian controls nearly 75% of the studio.

Before the deal can close, it also must be approved by European regulators, who are expected to take up the issue sometime in the first half of next year.

Sony and its equity partners plan to pay MGM stockholders $12 a share and assume $2 billion in debt, most of it taken on this year when MGM paid out a special $8-a-share dividend.

The consortium has committed $1.6 billion in cash, with the largest amount provided by Providence Equity.

MGM shares rose 8 cents to $11.87 on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.

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