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James Bond studio that Apple tried to buy in 2018 back on the market

Apple was reportedly in talks to buy MGM in 2018, but talks fell apart after CEO Gary Barber was unceremoniously ousted.

What you need to know

  • MGM Holdings is reportedly exploring a sale of its film studio.
  • The studio has over 4,000 titles including the James Bond franchise.
  • Apple was reportedly in talks to buy the studio in 2018, and also made an offer for ‘No Time to Die’ earlier this year.

Film studio MGM, the powerhouse behind the James Bond Franchise that Apple reportedly tried to buy in 2018, might be back on the market.

According to The Wall Street Journal:

MGM Holdings Inc., the movie studio behind the “James Bond” franchise, is exploring a sale, according to people familiar with the matter, betting that its library of content will prove attractive to companies pursuing growth in streaming video.

Closely held MGM has tapped investment banks Morgan Stanley MS 5.69% and LionTree LLC and begun a formal sale process, the people said. The company has a market value of around $5.5 billion, based on privately traded shares and including debt, some of the people said.

As the report notes, MGM has reportedly considered a sale of its studio several times in recent years. Most notably, in 2018, it was reported that CEO Gary Barber was in unsanctioned talks with Apple in a deal worth more than $6 billion. Barber was fired over the conversations and the deal fell apart as a result. According to WSJ, MGM board chair Kevin Ulrich boasted to investors at the time that “he could sell MGM for more than $8 billion in two to three years” but its share price has fallen sharply since then.

In October, it was reported that Apple may have been in talks with MGM about a deal to bring the 25th James Bond movie No Time to Die to its Apple TV+ streaming platform. Apple reportedly made an offer of some $400 million, but MGM wanted between $650 and $700 million.

The report continues:

Mr. Ulrich has told clients in recent months he was working toward a deal for the studio and has spoken of big technology companies as logical buyers, investors have said.

As Variety notes, “the studio believes its library of content — which includes co-ownership of the James Bond franchise — would be desirable to companies looking to expand their streaming sectors.”

The company’s current market value of $5.5 billion could make the acquisition a more enticing target given previous talks with Apple were reportedly in the region of $6 billion.

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