Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Metromedia Says It May Close After Deal With Dubai Firm

October 03, 2006|From Bloomberg News

Metromedia International Group Inc., the media company controlled by 92-year-old billionaire John Kluge, said Monday that it was in talks to sell assets and might shut down.

The company received a $480-million bid for Magticom Ltd. and its other holdings in the republic of Georgia from investors including Dubai-based Istithmar, Metromedia International said. The Charlotte, N.C.-based company said it would shut down after a court-supervised auction if it reached a deal to sell the assets.

Kluge, a television and wireless communications pioneer who bought his first TV station in 1956, began investing in cellular telephone and paging companies in the 1980s after selling seven Metromedia stations to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. for $2 billion. Forbes magazine listed Kluge as this year's 25th richest American, with a fortune estimated at $9.1 billion.

"This was his last hurrah; he wanted to keep his hands in things after he cashed out with Murdoch," said Douglas Gomery, an author and resident scholar at the Library of American Broadcasting at the University of Maryland. "Like all media moguls who live that long, he kept his hand in the media business and thought ahead."

Metromedia International has been selling phone operations in Eastern Europe for the last three years as costs to expand rose. It's also facing added expenses to file its delayed financial reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Chief Executive Mark Hauf said in a statement. The company had no plans to shut down before getting the bid, he said.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|