"In a surprising but not altogether shocking development, Deadline is reporting that Peter Jackson has agreed to direct the two HOBBIT films and that he's finalizing his deal right now with Warner Bros., New Line and MGM. While the obvious fingers were pointed at Jackson after Guillermo del Toro somewhat abruptly left the film, Jackson didn't look like he'd have the contractual wiggle room to make it happen. Whatever deals he had with other studios though, he was able to get out of and return to the world of Tolkein.
Jackson will direct both of the HOBBIT films back-to-back. He'll be flying to London over the July 4th weekend to meet with actors and then back to Los Angeles shortly thereafter to view audition tapes for the film. It all sounds like, even despite MGM's financial woes, that THE HOBBIT could wind up happening sooner rather than later."