Hollywood's last independent studio METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER (MGM) has agreed to be bought by a partnership led by Sony in a deal worth a staggering $4.8 billion (GBP2.7 billion).

The Japanese entertainment giant beat TIME Warner to the deal after months of heavy negotiations and will net 74 per cent stakeholder KIRK KERKORIAN $2.1 billion from the sale, almost $1 billion more than he paid for the studio in 1996.

The deal will give Sony access to MGM's film library- which includes classics like BEN HUR, Gone With The Wind and THE WIZARD OF OZ - a key source of cash as more movies are released on DVD.

An MGM statement said, "MGM management is expected to recommend the proposed merger to its Board by September 27, 2004,"

14/09/2004 16:55