Amazon closes $8.45bn deal to buy MGM
Staff Reporter | On 26, May 2021
Amazon has officially signed an agreement to acquire MGM.
The pair have entered into a merger agreement under which Amazon will acquire the studio for a purchase price of $8.45 billion. MGM has nearly a century of filmmaking history and its library – which ranges from James Bond and 12 Angry Men to Rocky, Robocop and Raging Bull – will give a major boost to Amazon Studios, which has primarily invested in TV programming to date. MGM’s library of TV shows, including Fargo, The Handmaid’s Tale and Vikings, means that the studio has collective won more than 180 Academy Awards and 100 Emmys.
Amazon has announced that it will help “preserve MGM’s heritage and catalog of films”, but Mike Hopkins, Senior Vice President of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, added in a statement: “The real financial value behind this deal is the treasure trove of IP in the deep catalog that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM’s talented team. It’s very exciting and provides so many opportunities for high-quality storytelling.”
“It has been an honor to have been a part of the incredible transformation of Metro Goldwyn Mayer. To get here took immensely talented people with a true belief in one vision. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank the MGM team who have helped us arrive at this historic day,” commented Kevin Ulrich, Chairman of the Board of Directors of MGM. “I am very proud that MGM’s Lion, which has long evoked the Golden Age of Hollywood, will continue its storied history, and the idea born from the creation of United Artists lives on in a way the founders originally intended, driven by the talent and their vision. The opportunity to align MGM’s storied history with Amazon is an inspiring combination.”
Completion of the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, but the deal is effectively done – and comes just as the streaming marketplace continues to heat up, with AT&T last week merging WarnerMedia with Discovery to form its own major player.
What does this all mean for MGM’s upcoming releases? It’s understood that MGM’s theatrical plans scheduled for this year – including No Time to Die and House of Gucci – are locked in and not set to change. As for James Bond, MGM shares the rights to the 007 franchise with Eon, which has a large amount of control over its marketing, casting and distribution. That means a James Bond movie isn’t about to debut on Amazon Prime Video in the near future, but it does mean that Fleming’s spy has found a streaming home, and that, in itself, is something for the online giant to roar about.
Amazon in talks to buy MGM
18th May 2021
Amazon is reportedly in talks to acquire MGM, a move that would give its streaming ambitions some heavyweight clout.
MGM has held preliminary talks in the past with companies with an eye for a sale, looking to capitalise on such successes as its TV series The Handmaid’s Tale. MGM also has a library that’s not to be sniffed at, including not only film franchises such as RoboCop, Rocky and The Pink Panther, but also – particularly timely – the James Bond series. Its TV library also includes Stargate, Vikings, Fargo and Get Shorty.
While that would be a worthwhile investment for any streamer looking to edge ahead of the competition, Amazon’s intentions seems particularly serious, with Variety reporting that the online giant is “weeks into negotiations” on a deal of about $9 billion.
The deal is reportedly being orchestrated by Mike Hopkins, senior VP of Amazon Studios and Prime Video, with MGM board chairman Kevin Ulrich. Variety also reports that Amazon is tapping Jeff Blackburn to return to the organisation in a new role overseeing a consolidated media and entertainment arm.
Amazon currently has more than 200 million Amazon Prime members worldwide, with Jeff Bezos recently revealing that 175 million of them have streaming titles on Amazon Prime Video in the past year.
Apple and Netflix reportedly circling MGM
29th January 2020
Apple and Netflix are reportedly circling MGM as a potential target for acquisition.
The streaming wars have heated up significantly in the past year, with Netflix seeing growing competition not only from Amazon Prime Video but also HBO Max (in the US), NBC’s Peacock (also in the US), Disney+ (arriving in the UK 24th March) and Apple TV+ (worldwide). As the only streamer in a market populated by only and tech firms, Netflix is racing to complete and release a swathe of original content, but acquiring MGM as both a studio for its productions as a library of older content would be a major boost to the streaming giant’s clout.
Apple TV+, meanwhile, has the challenge of standing out despite having no existing catalogue whatsoever, so MGM’s library of legacy titles would give it a significant leg up, particularly give that it includes the James Bond franchise, as well as Rocky and Mad Max.
MGM has held preliminary talks with “a number of companies”, reports CNBC, off the back of successes such as its TV series The Handmaid’s Tale and reality police show Live PD. MGM is also the owners of broadcaster Epix. Combined, its licensing and Epix subscriptions generated around $1 billion for the first nine months of 2019. That kind of revenue, as well as MGM’s brand strength, will make it an appealing prospect for companies such as Disney or WarnerMedia too, but with big deals and mergers in the past year, it’s more likely that another streaming party will step up to the plate.
Should talks continue, the result could be 2020’s defining media deal, as the streaming landscape evolves into its second phase – one where Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Disney, Comcast (owners of Sky and NBC) and AT&T (owners of HBO and WarnerBros) become the big six players in the digital media age.