In September of 2004, Sony announced that it had bought MGM (the company) for $5 billion. There's a touch of irony in this, since Sony has occupied the old MGM studios for years. Sony acquired MGM mainly in order to get the company's library of films, which is believed to be its most valuable asset. It constituted the biggest library of colour movies in the world, including franchises such as "James Bond", "The Pink Panther" and "Rocky". Word is that MGM will continue to operate as a private company (which the Sony will own), and will continue to put out several films a year. But now that they own the MGM name, perhaps the Sony studio tour will focus more on the MGM heritage on the lot.
The 86-year-old studio has been laden with debt since a 2005 buyout by a consortium including Sony, Comcast and private equity firms Providence and TPG, and was due to make a long-delayed $450m repayment on Friday. Its lenders include major banks such as JP Morgan Chase and Credit Suisse, plus a billionaire corporate raider, Carl Icahn, who specialises in making money out of distressed companies and who has been agitating, unsuccessfully, for a merger with MGM's rival, Lionsgate. The bankruptcy plan will wipe out the studio’s current owners, a group of investors that includes the buyout firms Providence Equity Partners, TPG Capital and the Quadrangle Group, as well as Sony and Comcast. The consortium took MGM private in 2005 in a deal that saddled the studio with an overwhelming debt burden. MGM has been up for sale since November but offers, including a bid of about $1.5bn from Time Warner, were too low to pay back the studio's debt.
Last Wednesday I when down to the Sony (MGM) studio and had a look around. As you can see from some of the images below it’s very quiet. I was in the per production centre. this was just after 1.00. when I went down for lunch to have a look around and same story.