Powered by a 30% increase inworldwide video shipments of titles like Barbershop 2 and Agent Cody Banks 2, and the Jul 1 launch of the MGM Channel in Spain,MGM top brass remained upbeat as they announced third quarter operatingfigures.

Third quarter revenues were$401.3m for the period ending Sept 30 2004 compared to $457.1m for thecorresponding period in 2003. Cash provided by operating activities totalled$26.9m.

The company's net loss was$26.7m, or $0.11 per share, which included expenses of $3.8m, or $.02 pershare, related to the pending acquisition of MGM. The figure included anon-cash charge of $8m, or $.03 per share, from the company's early decision toexpense employee stock options.

The third quarter 2003 netloss of $32.6m, or $0.13 per share, included a charge of $5.1m, or $0.02 pershare, for costs incurred in connection with MGM's bid for Vivendi UniversalEntertainment.

"We are especially pleasedto combine MGM with Sony and its partners," MGM chairman and chief executiveofficer Alex Yemenidjian said in a statement.

"The transaction willcomplete a dramatic transformation of our company over the past five years,which has delivered superior returns to MGM shareholders.'

On Sept 23 LOC AcquisitionCompany, which comprises Sony Corporation of America, Comcast StudioInvestments and affiliates of Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Groupand DLJ Merchant Banking Partners, entered into a definitive agreement toacquire MGM for $12 in cash per MGM share, plus the assumption of MGM's approximately$2bn in debt.

LOC Acquisition Company willbe owned by Sony at the time of the merger, which is subject to MGM shareholderapproval, various regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

"Our film, television, MGMNetworks and home entertainment operations are all on track to finish the yearstrongly," Chris McGurk, vice chairman and chief operating officer, added.

"The Stargate franchise has been a particularly strong performerand our film slate for next year, anchored by Pink Panther, Be Cool, TheAmityville Horror and Beauty Shop, looks especially promising."

' MGM also announcedthe promotions of Brett Fellman to senior vice president of exhibitor relationsand Derek McLay to senior vice president of domestic distribution.

Fellman most recentlyserved as vice president of exhibitor relations and will continue to overseethe placement of trailers and advertising materials in North American theatresand in-theatre promotions.

McLay previouslyserved as vice president of domestic distribution and will continue to overseeall box-office projections and gross estimates in his new post.