Spyglass Entertainment likely to take control of MGM

MUMBAI: Spyglass Entertainment is in the last lap of coming to an agreement to take control of debt-ridden Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM).

Both MGM and Spyglass have agreed on major points including how much Spyglass founders Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum would be compensated in management fees and equity, but a few issues still need to be resolved. Barber and Birnbaum would receive an ownership stake of 4 to 5 per cent in the restructured MGM, it is believed.

According to a plan that Spyglass presented to leading creditors of MGM, Barber and Birnbaum would run a scaled-back version of the studio as co-chief executives. Under a restructuring plan, the creditors would swap their debt for equity.

However, a major point, of a breakup fee that Spyglass would be paid if MGM decides to back out of the arrangement, is still to be decided.

Spyglass, however, would remain a separate company and will continue to produce its own slate of movies. If the deal goes through, a part of the Spyglass library of about 15 films like The Sixth Sense and Seabiscuit, personally owned by Barber and Birnbaum, would become a part of MGM‘s own catalogue of 4,000 films.

Barber and Birnbaum have conveyed to MGM authorities that they plan to slash overhead costs and produce a few films on a yearly basis including James Bond sequels and two planned films with Warner Bros.‘ New Line Cinema.

MGM creditors have been weighing several options for survival as a stand-alone company. They are considering the proposed mergers with Summit Entertainment and Lions Gate Entertainment. They are also looking into Time Warner Inc’s long-standing $1.5 billion bid to acquire MGM.

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