MGM Reaches Deal for Middle East Project

LOS ANGELES - Hollywood studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. reached an agreement with one of Abu Dhabi's largest real estate developers for an entertainment destination likely to cost billions of dollars, MGM said Wednesday.

Plans call for the joint project in the United Arab Emirates with Sorouh Real Estate to open by 2012 and include a complex with hotels, restaurants, retail shops and themed attractions based on MGM's library of 4,100 films, which include "The Pink Panther," "Rocky" and the James Bond franchise.

Some details such as the scale of the project remained to be determined, said Travis Rutherford, executive vice president of MGM's consumer products and location-based entertainment division.

"We're just embarking on that creative process," Rutherford said.

Under the memorandum of understanding, MGM would obtain licensing fees from the complex, while Sorouh would finance, construct and manage the property, he said.

Plans call for the project to involve 150 acres or more of Sorouh land.

With the deal, MGM became the latest entertainment giant to partner with a developer in the United Arab Emirates for as major project.

Last May, Universal Studios, a unit of NBC Universal parent General Electric Co., announced it would build a $2.2 billion theme park in Dubai by 2010 with government-held firm Tatweer.

Marvel Entertainment Inc. also announced last year that it would work with Al Ahli Group to create a $1 billion amusement park in Dubai to open by 2011.


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