Metro Goldwyn Mayer, the historic film studio that owns and produces the Stargate franchise, announced today that it has officially filed for bankruptcy in New York. This comes on the heels of last week’s vote by creditors, who “overwhelmingly approved” MGM’s plan to turn over ownership to its debt holders and emerge from bankruptcy with new management.
The studio’s fate is now in the hands of the court, and MGM said it believes the plan will be approved in approximately 30 days.
The pre-packaged bankruptcy will let MGM out of its more than $4 billion in debt, with those debt holders instead owning around 95 percent of the reorganized company. The other 5 percent will go to Spyglass Entertainment and its related subsidiaries, with Spyglass chiefs Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum serving as MGM’s new co-Chief Executive Officers.
The studio also said that it has enough cash on hand to continue normal business operations during the bankruptcy period, including paying its employees and vendors.
Most significantly for Stargate fans, MGM said that it plans to retain all of its assets during the procedures — and to raise around $500 million in new capital after emerging from Chapter 11, to fund operations “including production of a new slate of films and television series.”
Stargate fans have been waiting in particular for a pair of DVD movies in the franchise, both of which are scripted and awaiting a green light. The end of MGM’s crippling debt and a new influx of capital will be a big step forward — though not the only factor in when SG-1‘s Stargate: Revolution and Atlantis‘s Stargate: Extinction will be made. The studio also needs to be convinced that the films will actually turn a profit — whether in the DVD market or other means it could use to get them to fans.
“For many months, we have been working with our lenders to explore the strategic options available to MGM to improve MGM’s financial position and maximize the Company’s value,” co-Chief Executive Officer Steve Cooper said in the press release. “By sharply reducing MGM’s debt load and providing access to new capital, the proposed plan of reorganization achieves these goals. Having received approval through our recently completed solicitation process, we are pleased that the lenders support MGM’s approach. We now look forward to quickly emerging from Chapter 11.”
“MGM is emerging from one of the most challenging periods of its storied history,” Barber and Birnbaum said. “We are honored and inspired at the prospect of leading one of Hollywood’s most iconic studios into its next generation of unforgettable filmmaking, global television production and distribution, and aggressively pursuing, developing and exploiting new digital entertainment platforms.”
In related news, Carl Icahn — who holds a large portion of the studio’s debt and has been attempting to take over Lionsgate and merge its assets with MGM — will approve of the bankruptcy plan after it makes “certain immaterial modifications,” in MGM’s words.
“I am pleased that we were able to obtain an agreement to make changes to the MGM Prepackaged Plan that allows me to support it and enables the Company to avoid a potentially costly and disruptive bankruptcy process,” Icahn said in his own media statement. Among the changes, he cited a strong corporate governance structure, MGM’s not aquiring the Cypress film library, and Icahn’s right to designate a member on the MGM Board.
Read MGM’s full press release at Deadline Hollywood.