The Financial Times has announced that The Terminator franchise will be auctioned off, which has sparked considerable interest because "Terminator" is a unique example of a successful franchise not owned by a big studio.

FT says several financial buyers have expressed interest in Terminator, including Platinum Equity, the Beverly Hills firm that owns Delphi, the auto parts maker.

All the big film studios have also registered interest in the rights, with Sony Pictures a leading contender.

Summit Entertainment, the company behind the Twilight series, is tracking the sale, as is Media Rights Capital, which produced Sacha Baron Cohen's Bruno.

The rights are being sold by Halcyon, the production company behind Terminator Salvation. The auction does not cover earlier Terminator films. The rights will give the buyer to make new films, TV series and other spin-offs.