Tuesday 23 January 2018

Bond producers stirred to join Sahara's bid for shaken MGM

The Broccoli family, producers of the James Bond movies and co-owners of the franchise with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), are involved in Sahara India Pariwar's $2bn (€1.53bn) bid to buy the debt-laden studio.

Barbara Broccoli and her stepbrother Michael G Wilson are part of the Sahara India offer and would receive an undisclosed equity stake in MGM if it succeeds.

It wasn't clear whether Ms Broccoli and Mr Wilson would have a management role in the Los Angeles-based studio, a source said.

Sahara India offered $2bn for MGM's more than $3.7bn of debt, the Associated Press reported on September 17.

The overture comes as MGM's creditors are scheduled to vote this week on a pre-packaged bankruptcy plan to restructure the company's debt by converting it to equity in a merger with Hollywood producer Spyglass Entertainment.

Sahara India's entertainment operations include cable television channels, film production and cinema chains.

The talks involve Sahara India's "mutual interest" with MGM, Abhijit Sarkar, head of corporate communications at Sahara India Pariwar, said on Sunday. He declined to add to that yesterday, saying "it's too early to comment on the issue".

A spokeswoman for MGM, declined to comment, as did a spokeswoman for the Broccolis' London-based EON Productions.

Under MGM's bankruptcy plan, Spyglass Entertainment co-chairmen Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum, who produced 'The Sixth Sense', would operate the studio and swap the rights to their film library for a 5pc stake in the new company.

On April 19, EON Productions said it would suspend development on the next instalment in the 007 series, which was scheduled for release in late 2011.

"Due to the continued uncertainty surrounding the future of MGM, we have suspended development on Bond 23 indefinitely," EON said. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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