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MGM to Invest $870 Billion in South Korea Park

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer will invest up to an initial 800 billion won ($866.9 million) in developing its theme park in South Korea, an official said on Thursday.

"We are expecting to invest between 700 to 800 billion won in building the theme park, excluding the cost of the land," said an official at MSC Korea, which holds the sole negotiating rights with MGM in South Korea.

MGM will select a site in the Seoul metropolitan area by the end of this year, the official added.

The theme park is set to open in late 2011.

MGM, which holds a library of more than 4,100 movies, is owned by private equity firms Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group, Sony and cable operator Comcast, among others.

South Korea, whose homegrown theme parks have generated $1.2 billion in annual ticket sales according to Euromonitor, has also attracted interest from Universal Studios, a General Electric unit, and Paramount Pictures, owned by Viacom.

Universal Studios said last month that it would build with its partners a 2.9 trillion won theme park by 2012, its largest project in terms of investment size.

Paramount Pictures Corp is also set to open a theme park in South Korea, by 2009.