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MGM, Seagram End Sale Talks

October 13, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. is no longer in talks with Seagram Co. to buy PolyGram’s film library, home of 1,500 films including ``The Graduate″ and ``When Harry Met Sally.″

The widely expected purchase collapsed after the two sides could not agree on a price. Talks also stumbled over whether certain parts of the library, including some television programming, would be included in a sale.

MGM’s announcement Monday came after published reports said the famed movie studio was on the verge of buying PolyGram’s library for $400 million.

Craig Parsons, an MGM spokesman in Santa Monica, Calif., would not confirm what prices had been discussed, but said it was possible that talks could resume. A Seagram spokesman in New York did not return calls seeking comment.

Seagram is buying PolyGram, the world’s largest music company, for $10.4 billion and wants to shed PolyGram’s unprofitable film division to defray some costs of the purchase.

Seagram, which owns Universal Studios, reportedly hoped to fetch $1 billion for PolyGram’s film business but has found no takers. Instead only two companies, MGM and Britain’s Carlton Communications, reportedly bid for just the library.

``It’s important for Seagram to make a decision on what’s going to happen to PolyGram’s filmed entertainment division because talent does not like to make contracts when there is kind of an iffy situation,″ said Linda Bannister, an entertainment analyst with Edward Jones, a St. Louis-based brokerage.

Seagram has already sold its Tropicana juice business to PepsiCo for $3.3 billion to help pay for the PolyGram purchase, which is expected to close next month.

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