Harry Sloan Heads MGM

Harry E. Sloan has been named chairman-CEO of the newly reconfigured MGM.

Sloan oversaw the $2.6 billion sale last month of SBS Broadcasting, the European media company he founded in 1990 and most recently served as executive chairman.

Sloan, 55, who also helped build Lions Gate Entertainment and New World Entertainment through his investments, and serves as a member of MGM’s board of directors, will invest in the slimmed-down studio and become part of the ownership group.

That group comprises four private equity firms and two media companies: Providence Equity Partners (29%), Texas Pacific Group (21%), Sony (20%), Comcast (20%), DLJ Merchant Banking Partners (7%), and Quadrangle Group (3%).

“Harry has a superb track record in developing both content and distribution businesses and in exploiting growth opportunities in emerging technologies,” said Jonathan M. Nelson, current chairman of MGM and CEO of Providence Equity Partners, in a statement.

Said Sloan, “This is a vibrant company with a superb brand name and an unparalleled range of film and television content. I plan to pursue MGM’s many compelling growth opportunities in the domestic and international markets. The proliferation of digital channels and other new content delivery options is dramatically increasing the demand for the quality content MGM can provide.

“MGM’s long-term value is not based solely on its huge library, but on the many opportunities our team will have to create new content that builds on MGM’s powerful franchises.”

In 2005, MGM has co-financed and co-produced six movies with its strategic partner, Sony Pictures Entertainment. Next year, it plans to produce and co-finance a slate of new movies with SPE, including three from its most significant franchises: The Pink Panther, Rocky and James Bond.

In television, MGM produces two sci-fi series under the Stargate banner for both Sci Fi Channel and worldwide syndication. Mothership SG-1 is in its ninth season, while Stargate Atlantis is in its second. Both have been renewed for next season.

Sloan, who stepped down from SBS last week, is credited with building the company into the second-largest broadcaster in Europe with 16 TV stations, 21 premium pay channels, and 11 radio networks, reaching 100 million people across Europe. He led its initial public offering in 1993.

In 1999, SBS became the largest shareholder of Lions Gate Entertainment, an independent producer and distributor of movies, TV programming, home entertainment and video-on-demand content. Its film library is one of the largest in the industry. Sloan was chair of Lions Gate until April 2005.

Previously, Soan was chairman of New World Entertainment, which he bought in 1983. He led New World’s initial public offering in 1985, acquired Marvel Entertainment Group in 1986, and sold the business in 1989.

From 1976 to 1983, Sloan was an entertainment attorney with Sloan, Kuppin and Ament, an L.A. law firm he founded.