P.M. BRIEFING : Australian Qintex Board Approves Purchase of MGM-UA for $1 Billion
Australia-owned Qintex Entertainment Inc. announced today that its board of directors unanimously approved the $1-billion acquisition of MGM-UA Communications Co.
The deal, in essence, will split the present MGM-UA company, and leave majority shareholder Kirk Kerkorian in control of the MGM portion of the business.
The renamed United Artists Corp. would be the first big American motion picture studio to pass into foreign hands. Australian-turned-U.S. citizen Rupert Murdoch owns 20th Century Fox Film Corp. through his News Corp.
Foreign investors have turned their attention on Hollywood to prepare for the deregulation of European television in 1992 and for new international satellite stations.
“The consolidation of United Artists with Qintex Entertainment will create a formidable new company with strength in filmed entertainment production and worldwide distribution, and one of the largest and most attractive feature film libraries in the world,” said Christopher C. Skase, chairman of Qintex Group of Australia, parent company of Qintex Entertainment.
Qintex Entertainment is a TV production company that financed part of the CBS miniseries “Lonesome Dove” and is the nation’s largest independent production and distribution organization in the TV entertainment industry.
United Artists, one of seven major film studios in the world, holds the rights to such films as “The Pink Panther,” the James Bond series and Rocky films. The company recently has released box office hits including Oscar-winning “Rain Man,” “Moonstruck,” and “A Fish Called Wanda” and is producer of television’s “thirtysomething” and “In the Heat of the Night.”
MGM-UA lost $39.5 million in the first quarter of its 1989 fiscal year. The loss was attributed to increased interest expense and high write-offs on movies in production and already released.