MGM, the studio behind James Bond and Rocky, is exploring a sale

Company valued around $5.5 billion, could be appealing target for a growing streaming service

MGM Holdings Inc., the movie studio behind the James Bond franchise, is exploring a sale, according to people familiar with the matter, betting that its library of content will prove attractive to companies pursuing growth in streaming video.

Closely held MGM has tapped investment banks Morgan Stanley  MS, 4.89%  and LionTree LLC and begun a formal sale process, the people said. The company has a market value of around $5.5 billion, based on privately traded shares and including debt, some of the people said.

The studio has contemplated a sale at various points over the past few years, but potential suitors have previously balked at the price MGM was seeking. MGM is hopeful the current process will generate interest beyond Hollywood’s traditional players, from international media companies, private-equity investors and blank-check companies, one of the people familiar with the matter said.

MGM’s exploration of a possible sale comes amid a bidding war for content to fill a new wave of streaming-video services. MGM’s library of titles could make it an attractive target, its investors say.

The film studio has produced or distributed movies and TV shows including the “Rocky” franchise, “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Vikings.” It has struck deals to license movies from its library, including “Silence of the Lambs,” “Dances with Wolves,” “Rain Man” and “The Terminator.”

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

This article was originally posted on MarketWatch.