MGM, valued at $5.5 billion, has started a formal sale process, sources told the WSJ, and interest could extend beyond traditional Hollywood players.

Movie studio MGM Holdings, best known for the James Bond franchise, is exploring a sale, sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.
The company has already started a formal sale process, the sources said, and has a market value of about $5.5 billion including debt, based on privately traded shares.
MGM has a large catalog of big-name movies and TV shows it has either produced or distributed, including the Rocky franchise, “Legally Blonde,” and “A Star is Born,” which could make it attractive for sale, investors told the WSJ.
It is best known for the James Bond franchise, which it co-owns with holding company Danjaq.
It also owns the streaming service Epix.
Potential buyers have been expressing interest since the spring, when demand for streaming began to surge during national lockdowns, a person familiar with the process told the publication.
MGM hopes that interest will extend beyond traditional Hollywood players, one of the sources told the publication. They suggested international media companies, private-equity investors, and blank-check companies could be interested.
MGM did not immediately reply to Insider’s request for comment.
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This isn’t the first time the studio has reportedly considered a sale in recent years.
In 2016, MGM was close to a deal with a Chinese buyer for around $8 billion, sources told the WSJ, but this fell through.
Two years later, MGM’s former CEO Gary Barber reportedly held talks with Apple to sell the studio for more than $6 billion, the publication said.
The studio fired Barber for having early, unsanctioned conversations, and Kevin Ulrich, the chairman of MGM’s board and co-founder of Anchorage, MGM’s biggest shareholder, reassured investors that he could sell MGM for more than $8 billion in two to three years, per the Journal.
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The film industry has been hard hit by the pandemic.
Studios have faced both coronavirus-related production delays and the closure of cinemas during lockdowns, and many have pushed back their 2020 theatrical release dates.
MGM wasn’t exempt from this. “No Time to Die,” the upcoming Bond installment, was pushed back from November to April 2021 so it could hit movie theaters. The studio had reportedly asked Netflix and Apple for $600 million to bring the film straight to streaming, but the streaming giants only wanted to pay half this price.
But during the pandemic, MGM has been saved by its impressive catalog, and has said it continued to see strong demand.
Production has since picked back up, and 2021 could possibly be the studio’s biggest year for new content, Christopher Brearton, the company’s chief operating officer, said in a third-quarter earnings call in November.
In early December, Warner Bros. shocked the film industry by saying it would release all its 2021 movies on the HBO Max streaming platform the same day they’re released in theaters. Key Hollywood figures have openly slammed the decision, with “Tenet” director Christopher Nolan calling HBO Max “the worst streaming service.”