Carl Icahn Sells MGM Stake (Report)

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Carl Icahn

The financier who once sought to buy and merge two studios has now sold his last remaining stake in the movie business.

Financier Carl Icahn, who at one time looked poised to take control of two Hollywood studios, has now sold his remaining interest in MGM, leaving him with no major Hollywood holdings, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

Icahn, who previously divested his 33 percent stake in Lionsgate, has now sold his approximately 25 percent stake in MGM back to the company in a deal reportedly worth $590 million. At one time Icahn was reported to be seeking to merge Lionsgate and MGM into one company.

MGM, a private company which recently filed to do a public stock offering, is paying Icahn $33.50 for each of his 17.6 million shares, the Times reported, citing a confidential letter sent to shareholders.

The studio’s official public relations spokesperson said she could not comment on the report.

Icahn had initially bought up MGM debt beginning in 2010 when the company was in difficult financial straights and on its way to a pre-packaged bankruptcy. That was eventually converted into stock in the closely held private company.

Icahn had at one point opposed the bankruptcy and the subsequent appointment of Spyglass heads Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber to run MGM. They have been co-CEO’s of the company since December 2010 when it emerged from bankruptcy.

MGM currently does not distribute movies but does make them and finance them; with the films going out through other distributors. It has two big ones coming up – the next James Bond movie Skyfall due out in November through Sony Pictures Entertainment and the first of three movies in a highly anticipated series based on the work of J.R.R. Tolkien being directed by Peter Jackson. The first is called, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and is to be distributed this December by Warner Bros. MGM has a 50 percent stake in that movie.