Reports: Time Warner joins bidding war for MGM with $5 billion offer

Thursday, July 1st 2004, 6:06 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A bidding war has broken out for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, with Time Warner Inc. making a nearly $5 billion offer for the venerable Hollywood studio, according to newspaper reports.

The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal reported in Thursday editions that Time Warner has made a preliminary offer that rivals overtures from Sony Corp.

A spokeswoman for MGM said the company had no comment on the reports.

MGM Chairman and Chief Executive Alex Yemenidjian alluded to a bidding war during a presentation Tuesday to shareholders at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

``We have more strategic alternatives available to us than we realized,'' Yemenidjian told about 100 shareholders.

MGM, famous for ``The Wizard of Oz,'' the James Bond and the Pink Panther series, has been in talks with Sony for months over a sale that would value the studio at $5 billion. MGM continued talks with Sony even after a 15-day exclusive negotiation period expired in late May.

Under that proposed deal, Sony would contribute about $1.5 billion of the $3 billion in cash needed to close the deal. The rest would come from Sony's financial partners, which include Texas Pacific Group and Providence Equity Partners.

Sony has not been able to close the deal due to a snag with its partners on financing terms. At issue is how soon the partners would be bought out of their investment by Sony, sources familiar with the talks said.

Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian owns 74 percent of MGM, which is being courted primarily because of its vast film library of more than 4,000 titles.