No Time to Die delay adds pressure to find new home for MGM

The delay to 2021 has helped put the focus back on finding MGM a buyer.

The recent six month delay to No Time to Die may make MGM a more attractive investment, according to the Wall Street Journal.

MGM’s largest shareholder is New York hedge fund Anchorage Capital Group, while the studio is Anchorage’s largest single investment, amounting to 14% of of the fund’s value.

Anchorage became a shareholder in the studio back in 2010 after MGM came out of bankruptcy, one of a group of hedge funds that had been creditors. Unusually, the fund still owns its stake a decade later. It’s far more usual for hedge funds to turn in a fast profit than hang on this long.

However, Anchorage’s Chairman, Kevin Ulrich, is reported to be under pressure from the board to sell. Ulrich has said he is working towards a deal, with Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Comcast all in the frame. The latter owns Universal, international distributer of No Time to Die.

A source “close to Anchorage” says that the latest delay to No Time to Die makes a MGM a more attractive proposition to potential buyers as a new owner would have control over launch and distribution.

Unless Comcast bagged MGM, Universal would almost certainly seek compensation if it were locked out of distribution.

The studio was close to being sold to a Chinese buyer for $8 billion as China cracked down on overseas investments in 2016. And MGM has been without a CEO since Gary Barber was fired for approaching Apple without the approval of the board. Those talks apparently valued MGM in excess of $6 billion.

But even once MGM has a new home the future of the James Bond series may remain uncertain as the entire movie industry is in flux at the moment. In truth, it has been for many years, but the pandemic has accelerated the process.

And will Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson want to remain involved in the Bond films? Wilson has easily earned his retirement by now. When he does, it is easy to imagine that Broccoli wanting to call it a day too.

Source: Wall Street Journal

David Leigh founded The James Bond Dossier in 2002. A fan of 007 since the age of 8, he is also author of The Complete Guide to the Drinks of James Bond. You can order a copy here if you don't own it already.

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