By Ronald Grover
LOS ANGELES, March 18 MGM, the storied movie
studio that exited bankruptcy protection in 2010, posted a more
than a three-fold increase in 2012 net income, the company said
Blockbuster hits "Skyfall" and "The Hobbit" bolstered its
profit last year to $129.2 million, from $35.2 million in 2011,
it said in a statement.
The studio behind the James Bond franchise is considering an
initial public offering, three people familiar with the process
said last week. It was scheduled to be on the board's March 18
agenda, they said. Two of the sources said the board is being
advised by Goldman Sachs Group Inc and JPMorgan Chase &
Co on a possible IPO.
There was no mention of the board's discussion in MGM's
statement. A spokeswoman had no comment.
A conference call with MGM investors is scheduled for March
MGM is riding a hot streak at the box office that might set
the stage for an IPO, taking public the 88-year-old studio
synonymous with the golden age of Hollywood and responsible for
such classics as "Gone with the Wind" and "The Wizard of OZ."
"Skyfall" and "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" together
generated worldwide ticket sales of $2.1 billion, according to
the website Box Office Mojo. MGM partnered with other studios in
making the films.
Those hits helped hike revenue by 97 percent to $1.4 billion
in 2012, the company said in a statement.
"After two years of turning around the company and
reinvigorating the studio, the time is right to do an IPO and
broaden the shareholder base," Steve Azarbad, co-founder and
portfolio manager with Maglan Capital, said before the board
meeting. His firm invests in distressed assets and owns 1
percent of MGM.
The company has a library of about 4,100 older films and
10,800 TV episodes, it said in its 2010 bankruptcy filing.
Its pipeline of films to be released over the next two years
includes two more "Hobbit" movies and a remake of its 1987 hit
"Robocop," the company has previously said.
The Los Angeles-based company also controls the Bond
franchise and has tentatively scheduled another installment in
2014 with "Skyfall" writer John Logan working on a script,
according to the movie website IMDB.
MGM owns a stake in "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," starring Dwayne
Johnson and Channing Tatum, which Paramount is scheduled to
distribute on March 29, the studio said.
In August, the company bought 17.6 million of its shares
from investor Carl Icahn for $33.50 per share, according to a
report to its shareholders last year. The $590.4 million
acquisition valued the company at around $2.4 billion.
Employees and others hold options to nearly 9.7 million with
an average exercise price of $36.85, the company also said.