MGM hit backover press reports concerning a possible take-over deal yesterday (sept 1),issuing a statement saying it was continuing to consider strategicalternatives.

The statement,which also dismissed as inaccurate speculation that the studio was worth $5bn,follows a Reuters report last week that implied an announcement was about tobreak after employees were temporarily blocked from trading stock.

The studio'sfuture has been the subject of continued speculation in recent years. WarnerBros leads a pack of bidders that includes Sony and, according to some reports,the recently created NBC Universal.

MGM is thelowest grossing of the seven US majors, although it does own extremely valuableassets including the James Bond franchise and a coveted library containing morethan 4,000 titles.

"MGM assumes noobligation to update investors or others regarding its consideration ofstrategic alternatives or the progress of any discussions or negotiations thatare taking place," the statement read.

This weekendMGM, which is majority owned by billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, will release thethriller Wicker Parkstarring Josh Hartnett in what could be its final release as an independentlyowned studio.