Jeffrey Barbakow Named Chief of MGM/UA

Times Staff Writer

Kirk Kerkorian brought in the investment bankers Sunday as his latest management team at MGM/UA Communications Co., naming Merrill Lynch executive Jeffrey C. Barbakow as chairman, president and chief executive of the entertainment firm.

Barbakow, 44, and two lieutenants from Merrill Lynch Capital Markets will apply their financing talents to MGM/UA’s recently announced plan to raise $200 million as part of another restructuring plan, the company said.

Barbakow, well known in Los Angeles investment banking circles, replaces interim boss Stephen D. Silbert, longtime lawyer and aide to controlling stockholder Kerkorian.

Silbert was installed in July to replace Lee Rich, who resigned. Silbert moves to Tracinda Corp., Kerkorian’s privately held firm, which owns 79% of Beverly Hills-based MGM/UA.


A spokeswoman said Barbakow became familiar with MGM/UA while Merrill Lynch represented various would-be buyers of the entertainment company over the past several months. MGM/UA now says it is not for sale.

Barbakow has been managing director of the Los Angeles office of the investment banking division of Merrill Lynch Capital Markets, where he developed a reputation as the force behind the design and sale of several limited partnerships in Hollywood films.

Joining Barbakow as executive vice-president is KeninM. Spivak, 31, a vice-president at Merrill Lynch. Named senior vice-president was Trevor Fetter, 28, also of Merrill Lynch.

Barbakow said in a statement that he will implement the plans announced by Kerkorian in September, which call for raising $200 million from present shareholders, the possible sale of unspecified assets and consolidating all film production at the company’s MGM unit.

The idea is to repay the firm’s bank debt and cut costs to increase cash flow by more than $50 million.