Digital Entertainment agrees American joint venture
with MGM Resorts and Boyd Gaming - 2nd November 2011
Digital Entertainment Plc has announced details
of a joint venture agreement with US bricks and mortar
casino groups MGM Resorts International and Boyd Gaming
Corp that will see them offer online poker in America
should it become regulated and licensed.
deal will see bwin.party, MGM and Boyd form a jointly-owned
US-based company (Federal NewCo) with
bwin.party owning 65%, MGM owning 25% and Boyd owning
10%. Should federal legislation be enacted the joint
venture would offer online poker to US players via
Poker Tour and PartyPoker
brands with bwin.party providing the software and
support. Should US poker be legalised at the state
rather than federal level a new stand-alone company
would be created to develop opportunities on a state
by state basis.
strategy has been designed to address any and all
legislative outcomes, whether federal or state-by-state.
said Jim Ryan and Norbert Teufelberger, the Co-CEOs
of bwin.party. We are particularly excited to
be working with MGM and Boyd. Combining their significant
assets and regulatory expertise with the strength
of our PartyPoker
Poker Tour brands, all supported by our in-house
technology, makes us perfectly positioned for any
future opening of the US online poker market.
addition to the customer facing deal, bwin.party,
MGM and Boyd also revealed details of a two separate
15-year business to business agreements that would
enable them to offer real money online poker
services under their own brands in the US using the
bwin.party technology platform and associated services.
Murren, Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International,
said 'MGM has long been supportive of federal legislation
to strengthen UIGEA and provide the needed regulations
and consumer protections for online poker. MGM is
proud to have bwin.party as our partner as they have
the assets and experience that, combined with our
brands, can ensure a secure, fair and entertaining
online poker experience.
Smith, President and CEO of Boyd Gaming, added We
believe the right approach to offering legal online
poker in the United States is through a federal regulatory
structure that ensures the games are conducted with
the greatest possible integrity and security. Should
Congress enact legislation to legalise Internet poker,
this agreement will allow us to partner with the worlds
most experienced and prestigious online operator to
offer a secure, fair and entertaining experience for
players in the United States.
also confirmed that it is set to enter a preliminary
suitability review with the Nevada Gaming Control
Board in order to secure an advanced finding of suitability
in anticipation of future US-facing real money poker
MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas
prelims start on facebook at about 6:15 p.m. Eastern
Jeff Hougland vs. Donny Walker
Anthony Njokuani vs. Andre Winner
Aaron Simpson vs. Brad Tavares
Brian Bowles vs. Takeya Mizugaki
Live on Spike at 8 p.m.
Rafael dos Anjos vs. George Sotiropolous
Melvin Guillard vs. Shane Roller
Live on PPV at 9 p.m.
Matt Wiman vs. Dennis Siver
Carlos Condit vs. Dong Hyun Kim
Tito Ortiz vs. Ryan Bader
Wanderlei Silva vs. Chris Leben
Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber for the bantamweight
Grand presents Crazy Horse Paris
not considering stake in Las Vegas development, by
Ross Kelly -
6th April 2009
has denied media reports that it is considering taking
a stake in the troubled City Center development in
$US8.6 billion ($12.03 billion) development is owned
by MGM Mirage and Dubai World.
is not having any discussions with MGM or Dubai World
with respect to any such investment in City Center,"
Crown said today in a statement.
Wall Street Journal quoted an unnamed source as saying
Crown was considering investing in the project with
US investment firm Colony Capital.
source said Crown and Colony “would step in
and take over the funding requirements. The idea is
to keep City Center going”.
Inc., or MGM, is an American media company, involved
primarily in the production and distribution of films
and television programs.
MGM was founded in 1924 when the entertainment entrepreneur
Marcus Loew gained control of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn
Pictures Corporation and Louis B. Mayer Pictures.
Loew combined them into a new film company with Mayer
as its head of production. The newly formed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
was intended to provide quality feature films for
the Loew's Theatres chain and was wholly owned by
From the end of the silent film era through World
War II, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was the most prominent
motion picture studio in Hollywood, with the greatest
output of all of the studios: at its height, it released
an average of one feature film a week, along with
many short subjects and serials. A victim of the massive
restructuring of the motion picture industry during
the 1950s and 1960s, it was ultimately unable to cope
with the loss of its theater chain – due to
the U.S. Supreme Court decision United States v. Paramount
Pictures, Inc. (1948) – and the power shift
from studio bosses to independent producers and agents.
On April 8, 2005, the company was acquired by a partnership
led by Sony Corporation of America and Comcast in
association with Texas Pacific Group (now TPG Capital,
L.P.) and Providence Equity Partners. MGM Mirage,
a Las Vegas-based hotel and casino company listed
on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "MGM",
is not currently affiliated with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Sony Pictures currently distributes MGM/UA and Columbia
TriStar co-productions, including the recent Quantum
of Solace, but outside of the co-productions MGM is
now actively involved in acquiring worldwide film
rights and distributing theatrical motion pictures
in the United States. 20th Century Fox is handling
the international theatrical distribution and worldwide
home video distribution of MGM titles, excepting those
which Sony Pictures acts as majority partner.
Established in 1924, MGM is tied for the fifth-oldest
movie studio in history with Columbia Pictures. The
studio's motto, "Ars Gratia Artis", is Latin
meaning "Art for art's sake."
On April 16, 2009, MGM will celebrate its 85th Anniversary.
In 1924, theater magnate Marcus Loew had bought Metro
Pictures Corporation (founded in 1916) and Goldwyn
Pictures (founded in 1917) to provide a steady supply
of films for his large theater chain, Loews, Inc.
However, these purchases created a need for someone
to oversee his new Hollywood operations, since longtime
assistant Nicholas Schenck was needed in New York
to oversee the theaters.
Loew addressed the situation by buying Mayer Pictures
on April 16, 1924. Because of his decade-long success
as a producer, Louis B. Mayer was made a vice-president
of Loews and head of studio operations in California,
with Harry Rapf and Irving Thalberg as heads of production.
For decades MGM was listed on movie title cards as
"Controlled by Loews, Inc."
Originally, the new studio's films were presented
in the following manner: "Louis B. Mayer presents
a Metro-Goldwyn picture", but Mayer soon added
his name to the studio. Though Loew's Metro was the
dominant partner, the new studio inherited Goldwyn's
studios in Culver City, California, the former Goldwyn
mascot Leo the Lion (which replaced Metro's parrot
symbol), and the corporate motto Ars Gratia Artis
("Art for Art's Sake").
Also inherited from Goldwyn was a runaway production,
Ben-Hur, which had been filming in Rome for months
at great cost. Mayer scrapped most of what had been
shot and relocated production to Culver City. Though
Ben-Hur was the most costly film made up to its time,
it became MGM's first great public-relations triumph,
establishing an image for the company that persisted
for years. Also in 1925, with the success of both
The Big Parade and Ben-Hur, MGM passed Universal Studios
as the largest studio in Hollywood.
Marcus Loew died in 1927, and control of Loews passed
to his longtime associate, Nicholas Schenck. William
Fox of Fox Film Corporation in 1929, with Schenck's
assent, bought the Loew family's holdings. Mayer and
Thalberg disagreed with the decision. Mayer used political
connections to persuade the Justice Department to
take action against the deal on federal antitrust
grounds. During this time, in the summer of 1929,
Fox was badly hurt in an automobile accident. By the
time he recovered, the stock market crash in the fall
of 1929 had ended any chance of the Loews merger going
through. Schenck and Mayer had never gotten along
and the abortive Fox merger increased the animosity
between the two men.
MGM's golden age
From the outset, MGM tapped into the audience's need
for glamour and sophistication. Having inherited few
big names from their predecessor companies, Mayer
and Thalberg began at once to create and publicize
a host of new stars, among them Greta Garbo, John
Gilbert, William Haines, Norma Shearer, and Joan Crawford.
Established names like Lon Chaney, William Powell,
Buster Keaton, and Wallace Beery were hired from other
studios. They also hired top talent directors such
as King Vidor, Clarence Brown, Erich von Stroheim,
Tod Browning, and Victor Seastrom. The arrival of
talking pictures in 1928–29 gave opportunities
to other new stars, many of whom would carry MGM through
the 1930s: Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Robert Montgomery,
Myrna Loy, Jeanette MacDonald, and Nelson Eddy among
MGM was one of the first studios to experiment with
filming in Technicolor. Using the two-color Technicolor
process then available, MGM filmed portions of The
Uninvited Guest (1923), The Big Parade (1925), and
Ben-Hur (1925), among others, in the process. In 1928,
MGM released The Viking, the first complete Technicolor
feature with sound (including a synchronized score
and sound effects but no spoken dialogue). MGM's first
all-color, "all-talking" sound feature with
dialogue was the 1930 musical The Rogue Song. In 1934
MGM introduced the first live-action film made in
Technicolor's superior new three-color process, a
musical number in the otherwise black-and-white The
Cat and the Fiddle. The studio then produced a number
of three-color short subjects including 1935's musical
La Fiesta de Santa Barbara, however MGM waited until
1938 to film a complete feature in the process, Sweethearts
with Jeanette MacDonald.
From then on, MGM regularly produced several films
a year in Technicolor, The Wizard of Oz and Northwest
Passage being two of the most notable. MGM also released
the enormously successful Technicolor film Gone with
the Wind, starring Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara
and Clark Gable as Rhett Butler. (Although Gone With
the Wind was produced by Selznick International Pictures,
it was released by MGM as part of a deal for producer
David O. Selznick to obtain the services of Clark
In addition to a large short subjects program of its
own, MGM also released the shorts and features produced
by Hal Roach Studios, including comedy shorts starring
Laurel and Hardy, Our Gang, and Charley Chase. MGM's
distribution deal with Roach lasted from 1927 to 1938,
and MGM benefited in particular from the success of
the popular Laurel and Hardy films. In 1938, MGM purchased
the intellectual rights to Our Gang and moved the
production in-house, continuing production of the
successful series of children's comedies until 1944.
From 1929 to 1931, MGM produced a series of comedy
shorts called All Barkie Dogville Comedies, in which
trained dogs were dressed up to parody contemporary
films and were voiced by actors. One of the shorts,
The Dogway Melody (1930), spoofed MGM's hit 1929 musical
In animation, MGM purchased the rights in 1930 to
distribute a series of cartoons that starred a character
named Flip the Frog, produced by Ub Iwerks. The first
cartoon in this series (entitled Fiddlesticks) was
the first sound cartoon to be produced in two-color
Like its rivals, MGM produced fifty pictures a year.
Loew's theaters were mostly located in New York and
the Northeastern United States, so MGM made films
that were sophisticated and polished to cater to an
urban audience. As the Great Depression deepened,
MGM could make a claim its rivals could not: it never
lost money. It was the only Hollywood studio that
continued to pay dividends during the 1930s.
MGM stars dominated the box office in the '30s, and
the studio was credited for inventing the Hollywood
star system as well. MGM contracted with The American
Musical Academy of Arts Association, now the International
Academy of Music Arts and Sciences, to handle all
of their press and artist development. The AMAAA's
main function was to develop the budding stars and
to make them appealing to the masses. Stars like
Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, and Greta Garbo all
reigned as not only the top three figures at the studio,
but in Hollywood itself. Garbo started losing her
American audience after Queen Christina (1933), as
a contract dispute kept her out of Hollywood for two
years, and other MGM sex symbol actress Jean Harlow
now had a big break and became one of MGM's most admired
stars as well; despite Jean Harlow's gain, Garbo
still was a big star for MGM after she returned from
her absence. Shearer was still a top money maker
despite screen appearances becoming scarce, and Joan
Crawford continued her box office power up until 1937.
MGM would also receive a boost through the man who
would become the "king of Hollywood" Clark
Gable; Gable's career took off to new heights after
he won an Oscar for the 1934 Columbia film It Happened
One Night. By 1943, all three had left the studio.
Joan Crawford moved to Warner Brothers where her career
took a dramatic upturn for the better, Shearer and
Garbo never made another film after leaving MGM.
Mayer and Irving Thalberg's relationship was lukewarm
at best; Thalberg preferred literary works to the
crowd-pleasers Mayer wanted. Thalberg, always physically
frail, was removed as head of production in 1932.
Mayer encouraged other staff producers, among them
his son-in-law David O. Selznick, but no one seemed
to have the sure touch of Thalberg. As Thalberg fell
increasingly ill in 1936, Louis Mayer could now serve
as his temporary replacement. Rumors flew that Thalberg
was leaving to set up his own independent company;
his early death in 1936, at age thirty-seven, cost
As a result of Thalberg's death, Mayer became head
of production as well as studio chief, becoming the
first million-dollar executive in American history.
The company remained profitable, although a change
toward "series" pictures (Andy Hardy, Maisie,
the Thin Man pictures, et al.) is seen by some as
evidence of Mayer's restored influence. Also playing
a huge role was Ida Koverman, Mayer's "right
In 1933, Ub Iwerks cancelled the unsuccessful Flip
the Frog series and MGM began to distribute its second
series of cartoons, starring a character named Willie
Whopper, that was also produced by Ub Iwerks. In 1934,
after Iwerks' distribution contract expired, MGM hired
animation producers/directors Hugh Harman and Rudolph
Ising to produce a new series of color cartoons. Harman
and Ising came to MGM after breaking ties with Leon
Schlesinger and Warner Bros., and brought with them
their popular Looney Tunes character, Bosko. These
were known as Happy Harmonies and in many ways resembled
the Looney Tunes' sister series, Merrie Melodies.
The Happy Harmonies regularly ran over budget, and
MGM dismissed Harman-Ising in 1937 to start its own
animation studio. After the resulting struggles with
a poorly-received series of Captain and the Kids cartoons,
the studio re-hired Harman and Ising in 1939, and
Ising created the studio's first successful animated
character, Barney Bear. However, MGM's biggest cartoon
stars would come in the form of the cat-and-mouse
duo Tom and Jerry, created by William Hanna and Joseph
Barbera in 1940. The Tom and Jerry cartoons won seven
Academy Awards between 1943 and 1953. In 1941, Tex
Avery, another Schlesinger alumnus, joined the animation
department. It was Avery who gave the unit its image,
with successes like Red Hot Riding Hood, Swing Shift
Cinderella, and the Droopy series.
Increasingly, before and during World War II, Mayer
came to rely on his "College of Cardinals"—senior
producers who controlled the studio's output. This
management-by-committee may explain why MGM seemed
to lose its momentum, developing few new stars and
relying on the safety of sequels and bland material.
Production values remained high, and even "B"
pictures carried a polish and gloss that made them
expensive to mount, and artificial in tone. After
1940, production was cut from fifty pictures a year
to a more manageable twenty-five features per year.
It was during this time that MGM released very successful
musicals with players such as Judy Garland, Fred Astaire,
Gene Kelly, and Frank Sinatra, to name just a few.
As audiences drifted away after the war, MGM found
it difficult to attract audiences. While other studios
backed away from the popular musicals of the war years,
MGM increased its output to as many as five or six
each year, roughly one-quarter of its annual output.
Such pictures were expensive to produce, requiring
a full staff of songwriters, arrangers, musicians,
dancers, and technical support, and releasing so many
each year affected the company’s finances. By
the late forties, as MGM's profit margins decreased,
word came from Schenck in New York: find "a new
Thalberg" who could improve quality while paring
costs. Mayer thought he had found this savior in Dore
Schary, a writer and producer who had had a couple
of successful years running RKO.
Mayer's taste for wholesomeness and "beautiful"
movies conflicted with Schary's preference for gritty
message pictures. In August 1951, after a period of
friendly antagonism with Schary, Mayer was fired.
One report says that Mayer called Schenck and New
York with an ultimatum—"It's him or me".
Mayer tried to stage a boardroom coup to oust his
old nemesis, but failed.
Gradually cutting loose expensive contract actors
(perhaps most famously, Judy Garland in 1950), Schary
managed to keep the studio running much as it had
through the early 1950s. Under Schary, MGM produced
some well-regarded musicals, among them An American
in Paris, Singin' in the Rain and The Band Wagon.
However, it was a losing fight, as the mass audience
preferred to stay home and watch television. An American
in Paris and Singin' in the Rain, as well as the 1951
Technicolor Show Boat (begun while Mayer was still
in power), were box office smashes; The Band Wagon
was a modest success. But the 1954 film version of
Brigadoon, and 1955's Kismet, both filmed in Cinemascope,
were flops. On the other hand, Seven Brides for Seven
Brothers , also made in Cinemascope, and released
in 1954, became not only a huge critical success but
a box office hit that is shown on television often
to this day.
In 1954, as a settlement of the government's restraint-of-trade
action, U.S. vs. Paramount Pictures, et al., Loews,
Inc. gave up control of MGM. It would take another
five years before the interlocking arrangements were
completely undone, by which time both Loews and MGM
In 1997, MGM bought John Kluge's collection of film
properties (Orion Pictures, The Samuel Goldwyn Company
- or Goldwyn Entertainment Company - and the Motion
Picture Corporation of America,) substantially enlarging
its catalog. This catalog, along with the James Bond
franchise, was considered to be MGM's primary asset.
In the same year, the series, Stargate SG-1, was released,
being owned by MGM.
Up until 2001, MGM distributed its films internationally
through UIP (United International Pictures) a joint
venture between MGM, Universal Pictures and Paramount
Pictures. In January 2001, MGM severed its ties with
UIP and began distributing films internationally through
20th Century Fox.
Many of MGM's competitors started to make bids to
purchase the studio, beginning with Time Warner. It
was not unexpected that Time Warner would bid, since
the largest shareholder in the company was Ted Turner.
His Turner Entertainment group had risen to success
in part through its ownership of the pre-1986 MGM
library. After a short period of negotiation with
MGM, Time Warner was unsuccessful.
The leading bidder, though, proved to be Sony Corporation
of America, backed by Comcast and venture capital
bankers Texas Pacific Group (now TPG Capital, L.P.)
and Providence Equity Partners. Sony's primary goal
was to ensure Blu-ray Disc support at MGM; cost synergies
with Sony Pictures Entertainment were secondary. Time
Warner made a counter-bid (which Ted Turner reportedly
tried to block), but on September 13, 2004, Sony increased
its bid of $11.25/share (roughly $4.7 billion) to
$12/share ($5 billion), and Time Warner subsequently
withdrew its bid of $11/share ($4.5 billion).
MGM and Sony agreed on a purchase price of nearly
$5 billion, of which about $2 billion was to pay off
MGM debt  . Since 2005, the Columbia TriStar
Motion Picture Group has domestically distributed
films by MGM and UA
MGM announced that it would return as a theatrical
distribution company. MGM negotiated and struck deals
with The Weinstein Company, Lakeshore Entertainment,
Bauer Martinez, and many other independent studios,
and then announced its plans to release 14 feature
films for 2006 and early 2007. MGM also hoped to increase
the amount to over 20 by 2007.
Lucky Number Slevin, released April 7, was the first
film released under the new MGM era. Other recent
films under the MGM/Weinstein deal include Clerks
II and Bobby. Upon the MGM/Weinstein films' release
on home video, however, full distribution rights revert
to Weinstein (under Genius Products).
On May 31, MGM announced that it would transfer home
video output (MGM Home Entertainment) from Sony Pictures
Home Entertainment to 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
(excepting those MGM or UA and Columbia or TriStar
co-productions, such as the 2006 EON Productions version
of Casino Royale, where Columbia is a majority partner).
MGM also announced plans to restructure its worldwide
television distribution operation. In addition MGM
signed a deal with New Line Television in which MGM
would handle New Line's U.S. film and series television
syndication packages. MGM will also serve as New Line's
barter sales rep in the television arena for the next
On November 2, producer/actor Tom Cruise and his production
partner, Paula Wagner, signed an agreement with MGM
to run United Artists. Wagner will serve as United
Artists' chief executive. Cruise will produce and
star in films for UA and MGM will distribute the movies.
In April, it was announced that MGM movies would be
able to be downloaded through Apple's iTunes service,
with MGM bringing an estimated 100 of its existing
movies to iTunes service, the California-based computer
company revealed. The list of movies included the
likes of modern features such as Rocky, Ronin, Mad
Max and Dances with Wolves, along with more golden-era
classics such as Lilies of the Field and The Great
In October, the company launched MGM HD on DirecTV,
offering a library of movies formatted in Hi Def.
MGM teamed up with Weigel Broadcasting to launch a
new channel titled This TV on November 1, 2008.
On August 12, 2008, MGM teamed up with Comcast to
launch a new video-on-demand network titled Impact.
On November 10, 2008, MGM announced that it will release
full length films on YouTube.
MGM's library today
As of present, the Turner Entertainment Co. unit of
Time Warner owns the rights to the pre-1986 MGM film
library, with Warner Bros. handling distribution.
Turner acquired the MGM library during its brief ownership
of the company in 1986. For some time after the sale,
MGM continued to handle home video distribution of
its films; those rights reverted to Warner Bros. as
well in 1999.
Through its purchases of many different companies
and film and television libraries, MGM has greatly
enhanced its film and TV holdings.
Material owned by MGM
Nearly all of its own post-1986 library;
Most of the post-1952 United Artists catalog (although
it also includes a tiny fraction of pre-1952 UA material);
The post-1981 Orion Pictures film and television library
(which includes material from predecessors American
International Pictures (excepting early AIP Films),
Heatter-Quigley Productions, and Filmways (excepting
The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction));
The pre-1997 Samuel Goldwyn Company library;
The pre-1996 Motion Picture Corporation of America
library (excluding co-productions with other studios
such as Dumb and Dumber with New Line Cinema);
The theatrical rights to most of the ITV Global Entertainment
catalog, including their inherited Granada International
and ITC Entertainment (The Return of the Pink Panther,
Capricorn One, On Golden Pond, etc.) libraries;
The home video rights to the ABC Motion Pictures library,
under license from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment;
Most of the Cannon Films library (King Solomon's Mines,
That Championship Season, etc., with a few exceptions,
including certain films distributed by Warner Bros.,
the television rights to Lifeforce--those stand with
Sony Pictures Television, and most territorial rights
to Surrender and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace);
Most of the pre-1996 PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
Selected Nelson Entertainment properties (including
the pre-Turner-merger Castle Rock Entertainment library
with the exception of co-productions with Columbia
Pictures), and Embassy Pictures properties, under
license from StudioCanal (with the exception of two
films co-produced and co-distributed by Columbia);
The Epic Productions library:
Those of other smaller defunct studios, including
Atlantic Releasing Corporation, Scotti Bros. Pictures
and Hemdale Film Corporation - itself incorporated
into the Orion library. (Credit:
Man Australia does not represent MGM Grand