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MGM sells overseas channels amid Icahn buyback, IPO preparation

August 01, 2012|By Ben Fritz
  • Beverly Hills-based Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer has sold its TV networks in a number of countries, including Spain, Israel and India.
Beverly Hills-based Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer has sold its TV networks in a… (MGM )

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer has sold most of its international television channels to help generate cash to buy investor Carl Icahn's 25% stake in the studio and to focus on being a pure content company ahead of its planned initial public offering.

Beverly Hills-based MGM announced Wednesday that it had sold branded networks in Spain, Turkey, Israel, Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg), Poland, India and Southeast Asia, along with a pan-European and Asian channel, to Chellomedia, an international media company that has long worked with MGM on its overseas networks.

In addition, Chellomedia is buying MGM's 50% interest in a Latin American channel already co-owned by Chello's parent company, Liberty Global.

The deal leaves MGM with networks in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany, as well as interests in joint ventures in Brazil and Australia.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. But MGM could use cash from the deal to help fund a $590-million buyback of Icahn's shares disclosed Tuesday.

In addition, MGM is planning an IPO as soon as November. Investors may be more attracted to a company focused on creating movies and TV shows and distributing its sizable library than one also operating international TV channels.

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