MGM Reports Revenue Increase, Adds Peter Liguori to board

A new filing shows that the studio has acquired full ownership of United Artists, Peter Liguori has joined the board and that the Barber-Birnbaum stake amounts to just one-half of 1 percent in the revived film and TV company.

Things are jumping again at the new MGM.

A week after the successful opening of 21 Jump Street, in which the new Metro Goldwyn Mayer shares ownership with Columbia Pictures and Relativity Media, the studio issued a revised financial statement for 2011 that offers insight into the post-bankruptcy enterprise.

STORY: MGM Closes $500 Million Revolving Credit Facility to Retire Debt, Expand Film and TV Projects

MGM showed revenue in 2011 of $699 million, which was up from $572.6 million in 2010.

MGM revealed that in November it acquired full control of United Artists by buying outstanding debt of some $140 million, apparently ending the reported 30 percent stake that was held by Paula Wagner and Tom Cruise from their short-lived effort to revive the label. The report says that as part of that process, MGM gave up rights to the November 2012 release Red Dawn (which was distributed to creditors) but now gets the distribution revenue from the four UA movies produced during the Wagner-Cruise regime: Hot Tub Time Machine, Fame, Valkyrie and Lions for Lambs.

The filing says MGM also might resume using the UA banner to develop and produce new films.

The filing reveals that former Fox and Discovery Networks executive Peter Liguori has joined the new MGM’s board of directors. Along with co-chief executives Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum, the other board members are Ann Mather (listed as lead director), MySpace co-president Jason Hirschhorn, CBS chief financial officer Fredric Reynolds and three representatives of investment vehicles that together own about 1 percent of the company -- Kevin Ulrich, James Dondero and Christopher Pucillo. The investors are Anchorage Capital, Highland Capital and Icahn Capital (controlled by Carl Icahn).

STORY: Former MGM Owner Kirk Kerkorian Looking for Hollywood Acquisitions 

According to the filing, after emerging from bankruptcy late last year, MGM not only eliminated $5 billion in debt but also converted other debt into stock that these investors received.

Barber and Birnbaum’s Spyglass received only one-half of 1 percent of stock in the new company in addition to employment contracts.

In February, MGM said its lenders helped retire the old debt that was left and loaned the studio $500 million in a revolving credit facility.

The next movie release in which MGM has an ownership interest is G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which will go out June 29 through a deal with Paramount Pictures. The next James Bond movie, Skyfall, will be released through Sony Pictures Entertainment in November. At Christmas, MGM (in a joint venture with Warner Bros.' New Line) releases the first of two parts of The Hobbit (with the second coming a year later).

In January, MGM’s production of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is scheduled for release (also through Paramount). It will release Hope Springs, a drama starring Meryl Streep, Steve Carell and Tommy Lee Jones, in August through Lionsgate. 

Through a deal with MTV Networks, MGM co-finances the TV series Teen Wolf, which premiered last year and has been renewed for a second season beginning in June.

MGM owns or has an interest in 25 branded channels around the world as well as the THIS domestic TV network. It also holds a minority interest in Epix, a pay TV service, and other properties. The filing says the company has a library of 4,100 movies and 10,500 TV episodes.

Last year, MGM revised an agreement by which Fox distributes its product in the home entertainment market.

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