Acquisition of MGM by Sony completed

MUMBAI: MGM has announced that a consortium comprising Sony America, Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group, Comcast and DLJ Merchant Banking Partners has completed its acquisition of the company.

This transaction establishes MGM as one of the world's largest privately-held, independent motion picture, TV and home video companies, says a company release.

Last year, Sony scored with its $5 billion-bid for acquiring MGM. MGM and the consortium had announced in September 2004 that they had an agreement related to this acquisition. The agreement was adopted by MGM shareholders in December 2004. According to the agreement, stockholders of MGM will receive $12 in cash, without interest, for each MGM share held.

MGM president Dan Taylor said, "Today we begin an exciting chapter in the life of MGM. With our strong financial and strategic partners, we look forward to building on MGM's legacy and capitalising on emerging technologies and markets to provide consumers more opportunities to enjoy the world's largest modern library of films and TV programming."

MGM has also announced several key senior management appointments. Charles Cohen will serve as executive VP. Cohen had been executive VP of finance and corporate development at MGM since May 1997. Jim Packer will be executive VP television distribution. Packer had been executive VP, television distribution - North America since 2001.

MGM expects to benefit from operating agreements with Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE). SPE will assume certain distribution responsibilities for MGM's library of 4,000 films and 10,400 TV episodes through SPE's global distribution network, which currently distributes SPE's library of 3,500 films and 35,000 TV episodes.

MGM also expects to co-finance new films with SPE and co-produce some of these new projects. These films will be distributed and marketed by SPE. MGM will also develop new original TV programmes and is currently completing production on the ninth season of Stargate SG-1 and the second season of Stargate Atlantis, which will both premiere this summer. Sony Pictures Television will assume production management for certain MGM TV content.

In addition to the operating agreements with SPE, MGM also expects to benefit from distribution agreements with Comcast in the US. MGM content will be available on Comcast's video on demand platform and on new cable channels operated by Comcast and jointly owned by Comcast, SPE and the members of the consortium.

As far as theatrical releases are concerned The Amityville Horror releases on 15 April. Into the Blue, Romance and Cigarettes, The Woods, The Pink Panther and Art School Confidential will come out later this year.

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