Sony ogles MGM; what happens to Zee MGM?

MUMBAI: Moves are afoot in the US which could spoil the plot for Zee TV in India. Especially its Zee MGM channel. Movie studio MGM - more than 70 per cent owned by billionaire financier Kirk Kerkorian - is in talks with Sony Corp for a sell out.

Two other firms, Texas Pacific Group and Providence Equity Partners, are partnering Sony in a deal worth close to $ five billion. Each of the three is expected to bring in $1.5 billion, with the rest to be borrowed from the market.

The three are looking at buying out the entire company which had a market capitalisation of $4.1 billion before the news of the talks broke. It would require Kerkorian's sanction.

Sony is lusting after MGM because of its assets which include the vast MGM movie library inclusive of the James Bond movies and the Pink Panther series.

Kerkorian and his investment firm Tracinda Corp have bought and sold MGM and its various parts several times over the past few decades. Kerkorian and Tracinda bought MGM in 1996 from an affiliate of French bank Credit Lyonnais after the studio suffered years of Losses. Chief executive Alex Yemenidjian engineered a turnaround and added to the library by acquiring other companies, reports say.

Last year, MGM lost the bid to buy Vivendi Universal Entertainment after offering around $11.5 billion for assets that included Universal Studios, reports say.

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