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MGM Exec Sees Options Emerging

June 30, 2004|James Bates | Times Staff Writer

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. executives were mostly mum Tuesday on prospects the Los Angeles studio may be sold to Sony Corp. or another company.

During the company's annual shareholders meeting at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Chairman Alex Yemenidjian, citing legal restrictions on what he can disclose publicly, said only that unspecified "multiple alternatives" had emerged for the company.

"As it turned out, we have more strategic alternatives available to us than we realized," Yemenidjian said, adding that MGM needed time to explore them.

The meeting had been postponed from its original May 12 date, as talks with Sony were intensifying over a $5-billion acquisition proposal by the Japanese electronics conglomerate.

In recent weeks, however, Sony and its three equity partners -- Texas Pacific Group, Providence Equity Partners and DLJ Merchant Banking -- have had difficulty forging a plan that would give the investors their expected return and eventual exit strategy.

In the meantime, Time Warner Inc. has stepped up its overtures toward MGM, although executives at the media giant have made it clear they believe $5 billion would be a high price for the studio.

MGM is controlled by 87-year-old billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, who did not attend the annual meeting.

The company is considered an attractive target because of its 4,000-film library, which includes the James Bond franchise, the Pink Panther films and such Oscar-winning movies as "West Side Story," "Silence of the Lambs," "Rain Man" and "Rocky."

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