MGM, the Hollywood studio behind the James Bond and Rocky franchises, is up for sale with a price-tag of more than $5bn (£3.75bn).
The studio has explored selling several times over the last few years, most recently in January when preliminary talks were held with Netflix and Apple among others, but price proved to be a stumbling block.
However, the streaming wars continue to fuel huge inflation in the prices willing to be paid for must-have content, and proven global franchises are becoming increasingly scarce and as a result rocketing in value.
MGM owns a library of 4,000 film titles and 17,000 hours of TV programming, from Gone with the Wind and The Hobbit to TV hits such as The Handmaid’s Tale. It made $1.5bn in revenues last year. While the studio, which was forced into bankruptcy a decade ago after running up a $4bn (£2.5bn) in debt, has developed new franchises such as Rocky spin-off Creed, starring Michael B Jordan, its crown jewel remains the 58-year-old evergreen James Bond franchise.
Bond is the fifth-most valuable movie franchise of all-time, with its 24 films to date grossing more than $7bn, behind only the Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter and Spider-Man films. And with a loyal, global fanbase the films can be relied on to bring in about $1bn at the global box office. The next Bond film, No Time To Die, Daniel Craig’s last outing as 007, has been moved twice with its premiere now scheduled for April in the hope that movie fans will be able to return to theatres en masse.
Founded in 1924, MGM (AKA Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer), which has recorded huge success over the years with films such as The Wizard of Oz, Ben Hur and Singin’ in the Rain, has frequently changed hands over the years. Owners have included drinks magnate Edgar Bronfman, the Las Vegas casino billionaire Kirk Kerkorian and CNN’s founder Ted Turner.