Sony-MGM: Comcast Is Officially In

Sony Corp. announced Thursday night that it has reached a definitive agreement to purchase Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. and that Comcast Corp. will be an equity participant in the deal.

The Sony-MGM deal was announced last week, but Comcast -- which had cut separate agreements with Sony for video-on-demand content and for a joint programming-development venture -- had been on the fence concerning investing in the MGM deal.

According to a press release, Sony will invest $300 million in the venture, as will Comcast. Other participants are Providence Equity Partners Inc. ($525 million), Texas Pacific Group ($350 million) and DLJ Merchant Banking Partners ($125 million).

Sony said in a prepared statement that it expects the deal -- valued at about $4.9 billion, including the assumption of $2 billion in MGM debt -- to close in mid-2005.

“This is a terrific partnership,” Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said in a prepared statement. “We are delighted to be working with Sony and the other partners to substantially expand the content available to our customers, and our direct investment further underscores our excitement over this opportunity.”