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Variety's Peter Bart is breaking a major story tonight that MGM may be up for sale and likely auctioned off. That process could be underway as soon as before Christmas.
If the rumors are true -- and I have no reason to doubt Bart's sources aren't on the money -- then the method of auction and who will get what assets could play out in numerous ways. One company, perhaps even one presently outside of the entertainment biz, could step up and buy all of MGM's assets, thereby owning its thousands of movies in its catalogue, the MGM brand and the three films it has slated for release in 2010. Alternatively, the auction process could see the parts of MGM sold off to various studios and its movies scattered across the TMZ.
MGM currently owns $3.7 billion in debt to creditors. Bart's abacus tallies MGM's assets to be as little as $1.5 billion and with an aging catalogue of titles, it may be seen more as an albatross to own rather than a collection of gems.