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BACK ON ITS FEET? MGM Creditors Crown Spyglass Partners New Chiefs

Mike Fleming

2ND UPDATE: MGM has just issued this statement about the results of the creditor voting:

“Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. (‘MGM’) today announced that the secured lenders voting in the Company’s solicitation process have overwhelmingly approved its proposed plan of reorganization (‘Plan’). MGM will now move expeditiously to implement that Plan, which will dramatically reduce its debt load and put the Company in a strong position to execute its business strategy. MGM is appreciative of the lenders’ support.”

UPDATE: The creditors have now officially approved the restructuring plan that puts the Spyglass chiefs atop MGM and gets the studio moving again. A statement will be released momentarily. Now, the fun begins. If MGM isn’t a distributor, the next installment of James Bond will be a jump ball. Expect Sony (which distributed Casino Royale to battle it out with Warner Bros and Fox, but watch Paramount emerge in the thick of it because of the close relationship that the studio has developed with Spyglass since that company became co-financier of Star Trek and the followup that is in the works. Read More »

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MGM Crowns Spyglass Partners Gary Barber And Roger Birnbaum New CEOs

Mike Fleming

2ND UPDATE: MGM has just confirmed Deadline’s report that it has formally named Spyglass partners Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum its new chairmen/CEOs, and the studio has just issued a press release describing its reorganization effort. It appears below. What isn’t answered is whether MGM will be revived as an entity that strips off its distribution and marketing arms, and makes a distribution deal for product that will include the next installment of James Bond. Deadline was first to tell you on June 29 that the reorganization plan called for MGM to reemerge as a production facility. The advantage is saving money on manpower and other costs, but eventually some of that would be wiped out by having to pay a distribution fee to someone else. What is clear is that the recent MGM developments put Mary Parent one step closer to the exit, and already, rumors are making the rounds of where she will land a production deal. I called the offices of Birnbaum and Barber but was told they are prohibited from commenting at this point.

UPDATE: I’m told that MGM will shortly announce Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum as its new co-chairmen/CEOs, effective once MGM emerges from Chapter 11. They don’t officially take office until MGM emerges from bankruptcy. This is part of the long expected restructuring plan, as MGM brass has begun to solicit votes from lenders to convert 100% of the … Read More »

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Spyglass Partners Inch Closer To MGM Reins; Battle Royals Looms For James Bond Distribution Rights

Mike Fleming

As expected, the MGM ownership situation is getting closer to being sorted, and it won’t be long before the Lion has a chance to roar again. Or at least emerge from its cage. Spyglass chiefs Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber have signed non-binding letters of intent that will make them MGM co-chairmen/CEOs. That leads to the next step, which is a pre-packaged bankruptcy proceeding that would convert debt to equity, removing the $4 billion albatross from around the Lion’s neck so that it can start generating films again. The prepackaged bankruptcy allows the company to be restructured while it freezes existing deals for franchises that include the James Bond series and The Hobbit.

The LA Times reports that the Spyglass guys are already looking past this hurdle, and are talking with Ken Schapiro about coming aboard as COO. He’s a vet of Qualia Capital, which was among the entities that kicked the tires on MGM before management decided to go with Birnbaum and Barber, who are expected to make projects but will likely eliminate the studio’s marketing and distribution arms and set the projects up elsewhere. All this means that The Hobbit, with Peter Jackson at the helm, can move forward, with co-financing partner Warner Bros distributing the two films worldwide.

The situation on 007 will be more feverish. Warner Bros, Sony Pictures Entertainment and 20th Century Fox are the obvious outlets, … Read More »

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