Fox examining MGM financial data

Bids could trigger extension of studio's debt payment deadline

Fox execs will cull through MGM financial data before deciding whether to join bidders for the Century City studio.

Most Lion suitors completed due diligence last week. In a statement Sunday, MGM said it had received several expressions of interest.

"MGM has received numerous indications of interest," the studio said. "The company continues to evaluate those bids and is having discussions with the interested parties. MGM expects the next phase of this process to begin next week."

Moelis & Co. is MGM's consultant for the solicitation of offers to acquire all or part of the studio, a process launched at the insistence of almost 150 lenders bearing $3.7 billion in Lion debt.

Those completing a review financial documents -- via a virtual data room set up by Moelis -- included representatives of Warner Bros., Lionsgate, AT&T, Summit Entertainment and Reliance Big Entertainment. Fox joined the process on Friday, after Moelis relaxed a provision barring bidders from sharing financial data with other companies.

RBE's Amitabh Jhunjhunwala -- who also sits on the board of DreamWorks, in which RBE is a principal -- reportedly met with MGM execs and bankers in L.A. this month.

If bids received in the first round are deemed worth considering further, lenders again will have to stretch the Jan. 31 deadline on a $250 million debt payment by the studio. MGM lenders did that twice previously.

The Lion's current ownership group includes Providence Equity, TPG Capital, Sony, Comcast, DLJ Merchant and Quadrangle.

JP Morgan Chase is leading a steering committee representing the studio's lenders group. Houlihan Lokey is advising JP Morgan regarding the bidding process.

Eventually, Houlihan will be provided a briefing book by Moelis summarizing first-round bids.
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