James Bond studio MGM is exploring a sale. So who’s buying?

Los Angeles Times

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, the film and TV company behind the James Bond movies, is exploring a sale a decade after the company exited Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The Beverly Hills-based studio, which also controls franchises such as “Rocky” and TV shows including “The Voice,” is working with advisers to find a buyer hungry for its robust film and television library, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to comment.

The search for a deal begins as demand for content surges among streaming services battling for subscribers and advertising dollars. The Wall Street Journal first reported that the company has engaged Morgan Stanley and LionTree Advisors to begin the formal sale process. MGM declined to comment.

MGM has been a perennial subject of deal speculation as the entertainment industry consolidates into a handful of dominant players.

The biggest film and TV studios are either owned by telecom or technology giants, such as AT&T Inc. (which owns WarnerMedia) and Comcast Corp. (parent of NBCUniversal), or they’re transforming themselves into streaming businesses, as Walt Disney Co. has done. Apple and Amazon are moving further into the movie and TV business, and Netflix continues to grow its Hollywood clout amid the pandemic.

Smaller players such as MGM and Santa Monica-based Lionsgate are struggling to compete as COVID-19 prevents them from releasing their big movies in theaters.

New York hedge fund Anchorage Capital Group, MGM’s largest shareholder, has come under pressure to pursue an exit through a sale. MGM has operated without a chief executive for two years since the ouster of CEO Gary Barber, who was previously agitating for a deal.

MGM’s library includes 4,000 movies such as “Robocop,” “The Pink Panther” and “The Silence of the Lambs.” Its scripted TV division is responsible for “Fargo,” “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Vikings.”