Merrill Lynch Trying To Get Out Of United Artists Deal

The New York Post‘s Peter Lauria reports that Merrill Lynch is trying to bail out on its deal with United Artists, the MGM mini-studio. The only difference between this deal and every other foundering Hollywood-meet-Wall Street relationship is that UA was supposedly going to be revived by Tom Cruise and his movie partner Paula Wagner.

NYP:Merrill Lynch is examining its contract with United Artists as the beleaguered bank looks to revise the deal on more favourable terms, The Post has learned.

Merrill’s goal is to see if studio parent Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer violated any terms by axing Paula Wagner – superstar Tom Cruises’ movie partner – as UA’s CEO…

Since Tom Cruise still is technically tied to UA, MGM boss Harry Sloan likely hasn’t defaulted on any of the terms of the $500 million credit facility that Merrill extended to UA…

“[Harry] Sloan isn’t going to be able to use United Artists funds for non-United Artists movies” without a significant altering of the original agreement, said one person involved in the process. According to this person, the terms of the original financing agreement were so favourable to UA that Merrill and its syndicate of lenders would love to get out of it entirely. Short of that, the lenders are seeking any concessions they can get, the person said.

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