MGM posts strong first quarter results on “Skyfall,” “Hobbit”

Buoyed by the billion-dollar box-office blockbusters “Skyfall” and “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” MGM Holdings Inc., the parent of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., posted first-quarter net income of $57.4 million.

That was more than double than the $23.3-million net income figure the Beverly Hills-based company reported a year earlier.

The privately held film and television company said in a filing on its website that it had posted revenue of $481.7 million for the three-month period that ended March 31 — a sizable increase over the $179.5 million taken in during the same quarter in 2012.


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The earnings report comes one day after a trade publication said that activist investor Daniel S. Loeb has been acquiring shares of MGM on the private market.

Last year MGM, headed by chief executive Gary Barber, filed a draft registration statement for an IPO with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company, which emerged from bankruptcy in December 2010, attributed its first-quarter success in part to its two fourth-quarter blockbusters. “Skyfall,” the latest James Bond film, grossed $1.1 billion worldwide; “The Hobbit,” the first in a series of films based on the J.R.R. Tolkien book, took in $1 billion globally.

The company said first-quarter theatrical revenue was $139.5 million, up from $500,000 a year earlier.

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A story published on the Hollywood Reporter website on Wednesday said that Loeb, chief executive of New York hedge fund Third Point, has been acquiring MGM stock for about $50 per share. Shares of MGM, which trade over the counter, closed at $54.75 on Thursday, up nearly 12% on the day.

A spokesperson for MGM declined to discuss Loeb’s stock purchases. A Third Point spokesperson also declined to comment.

On Tuesday, Third Point proposed that Sony Corp. make a public offering of up to 20% of Sony Entertainment Inc. Loeb outlined his proposal in a letter to Kazuo Hirai, Sony’s president and chief executive, saying that such a move would help Sony with its “burdensome debt” and provide it with the financial resources to improve its electronics business.

“Many casual observers would be surprised to learn that while Sony is electronics, much of its current value is derived from a hidden gem — Sony’s Entertainment division,” wrote Loeb.

Third Point holds $1.1-billion worth of Sony shares.


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