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Sony to Pay Billions for MGM Film Library - 2004-09-17

Japanese consumer electronic giant Sony is hoping to close a deal that will give it control of the famed MGM studio in the United States. The agreement calls for Sony to pay about $3 billion in cash and assume nearly $2 billion of MGM debt.

Sony edged out media conglomerate Time Warner for MGM after the Japanese company raised its offer at the last minute.

MGM has a library of thousands of titles including the James Bond, Pink Panther and Rocky series of movies. The Hollywood studio says it will recommend what it calls the proposed merger with Sony, which is subject to regulatory approval, to its board on September 27.

Some analysts say the Japanese company is eager to acquire MGM mainly to boost Sony's brand image rather than seeking profitability.

Toyota has announced it will make and sell its Prius hybrid car in China. The Prius is powered by a gasoline engine and an electric motor. The Chinese version will be jointly manufactured with China's FAW group.

Toyota President Fujio Cho said production will begin by the end of next year. Mr. Cho said he wants to see the joint venture become a dominant player in China's automobile industry. An initial output of several thousand cars is projected.

Toshiba and Canon say they will jointly invest nearly $2 billion in production lines to make flat-panel screens. Officials of the two companies say they expect the new product to generate $2 billion in sales by 2010.

The screens will have what is called SED technology, a new type of flat panel that uses less power.

The joint venture marks Canon's entry into the flat TV screen business. The Tokyo-based company is best known for its cameras and printers. Toshiba is Japan's second largest chipmaker.