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Latest in MGM drama: Len Blavatnik is out and Peter Chernin isn't interested

May 7, 2010 |  2:01 pm

In the seemingly never-ending drama that is MGM, one of the near-bankrupt studio's would-be white knights, billionaire Len Blavatnik, has withdrawn his bid to salvage the company, a person close to the situation confirmed Friday.

The person said Blavatnik had given MGM a deadline to accept his offer to restructure its huge debt load and infuse new capital to keep the struggling studio alive, but that the deadline had passed without a response from MGM, so he took it off the table. News of Blavatnik backing away from the auction was first reported by Reuters news service.

Blavatnik's holding company, Access Industries, was one of several parties, including News Corp. and Qualia Capital, offering to help restructure MGM's $3.7-billion debt and provide an infusion of cash to enable the studio to continue operating and producing new movies.

Meanwhile, MGM is expected to get a fifth extension next week on its interest payments due May 14 as its lenders and bond holders continue to weigh proposed stand-alone plans as well as a $1.5-billion bid by Time Warner Inc. to buy the studio. A person close to Time Warner said MGM had not approached the media company, parent of Warner Bros., about sweetening its offer, which some stakeholders view as too low.

Some news outlets, including Bloomberg.com, are reporting that MGM's steering committee has met with various industry executives including former News Corp. president Peter Chernin for advice and about potentially running MGM. People close to Chernin, who has a lucrative movie and television production deal at News Corp.'s Fox studio, say he has zero interest in running MGM.

-- Claudia Eller

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