There was a time when maverick investor Carl Icahn actively backed a merger of Lionsgate and MGM. At the time he was a major stockholder in both companies. But he eventually sold his shares in Lionsgate at a significant loss, just before the studio came roaring back with a series of moneymakers, including The Hunger Games , which had a worldwide gross of $618 million but cost only $75 million to produce. Lionsgate also acquired Summit Entertainment and coproduced with them the final Twilight movie ( Breaking Dawn Part 2 ), which is likely to earn more than $1 billion after it is released in November. Now, according to reports appearing in the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal , Icahn is selling his stake in MGM to MGM Holdings, the corporate parent of the studio, for $590 million. That will permit the studio to go ahead with a plan to go public with an IPO this fall. According to the Journal, MGM has hired J.P. Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs to manage the stock offering. Once again, the timing for Icahn seems awkward. MGM is planning to release the next James Bond movie, Skyfall , in November and Pt. 1 of The Hobbit trilogy in December. Both films are expected to become extraordinary blockbusters.

01/08/2012