Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., which has been in drawn-out sale talks for nearly five months with such suitors as Sony Corp. and Time Warner Inc., is restricting its executives from trading shares in the company.
Sources said that the development, reported by Reuters, could suggest that a resolution of the Century City-based studio's future may be near.
A company generally enforces such a restriction to protect employees against securities law violations.
MGM has been in serious discussions about a possible sale since at least April. Sony was the early front-runner, discussing a bid that would value MGM at about $5 billion through a partnership with Texas Pacific Group and others. But those discussions hit a bump as Sony and its partners continued to have problems finalizing a deal.
Time Warner has since entered the picture, although it also is showing interest in other possible targets, notably the troubled Adelphia Communications Corp. cable operator.
MGM is controlled by Kirk Kerkorian. Time Warner is believed to be floating a bid in which Kerkorian would receive restricted securities, with other stockholders being paid in cash.
MGM declined to comment, as did Time Warner, Sony and Texas Pacific.
MGM's library of more than 4,000 films includes the James Bond and "Pink Panther" series.
MGM shares fell 14 cents to $11.40 on the New York Stock Exchange.