The studio has contemplated a sale at various points over the past few years, but potential suitors have previously balked at the price MGM was seeking.
The Wall Street Journal (via Variety) reports that MGM has recruited Morgan Stanley and LionTree LLC to advise on the process of a formal sale of its studio, believing that its library of content, which includes co-ownership of the Bond franchise, would make it a hot commodity for companies looking to expand its streaming sectors. The movie studio behind the incredibly successful James Bond franchise is exploring a sale, hoping that companies with stakes in streaming video will be interested in securing MGM's titles.
Sure, MGM is a good-looking acquisition for a streamer like Netflix or a massive entity like Sony, but there's been a recent resurgence in antitrust awareness that might dissuade a deal like that from going through.
The film studio has produced or distributed movies and TV shows including the "Rocky" franchise, "The Handmaid's Tale" and "Vikings". Most notably, in 2018, it was reported that CEO Gary Barber was in unsanctioned talks with Apple in a deal worth more than $6 billion.
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As the report notes, MGM has reportedly considered a sale of its studio several times in recent years. Barber was sacked over the conversations and the deal fell apart as a result.
While MGM is awaiting the theatrical release of its latest Bond flick No Time to Die, the studio is starting to think that there's no time like the present to sell.
In the first three quarters of 2020, MGM reported $181 million in adjusted Ebitda, compared with $123 million over the same period a year ago. However, MGM wanted more.
Possible suitors expressed interest in MGM this spring as people stayed home and demand for streaming picked up, a person familiar with the process said.