Burdened by a heavy debt load that has barely allowed it to remain a functioning studio, MGM on Thursday said that its lenders had agreed to allow it to defer interest payments for the next three months so that it could continue its participation in the development of The Hobbit . MGM currently has a deal with New Line to co-produce the prequel to The Lord Of The Rings. The Hollywood Reporter observed today (Friday) that the current MGM ownership group, led by Providence Equity group and TPG, is expected to allow lenders to convert debt into equity. Once the lenders become owners, the trade publication said, another sale of the studio is likely to take place.