MGM, the venerable US studio, could be among the newacquisition targets being weighed up by Comcast, the US cable network giant.
Comcast this week decided not to pursue its hostile takeoverapproach to Walt Disney. Earlier this year it had offered $54bn for Disney, butthe bid had been rebuffed by the Disneyboard and was seen by investment analysts as too low to succeed - even thoughthe wealthy Comcast could probably have raisedthe colossal sum.
Keen to boost its content management activities, Comcast hadbeen most interested in Disney's cable network channels such as ESPN and itsfilm library. With its content ambitions unfulfilled and cable coming under agrowing threat from satellite and telephone companies Comcast is now looking toadd other rights ownership or management activities.
Sony, which owns the Columbia TriStar studio, last weekindicated that it was close to making a bid for MGM with a value of some $5bnin partnership with two private equity firms. Although that is a price higherthan MGM's current market capitalisation, it is a sum that Comcast could affordwithout flinching.
MGM has rights to some 4,000 films, one of the largestlibraries in the world, an asset that Comcast would expect to use to leverageits video-on-demand operations.