Amazon closes $8.5-billion purchase of MGM, giving it broader sway in Hollywood
Amazon has closed its $8.5-billion acquisition of movie and TV studio MGM, the companies said Thursday.
The deal gives Amazon control of one of Hollywood’s most storied brands, with a catalog of more than 4,000 film titles, including the James Bond and “Rocky” franchises, plus such classics as “The Silence of the Lambs.”
Amazon’s purchase of MGM was first announced in May.
The transaction was thought to be in the crosshairs of the Federal Trade Commission, led by Amazon critic Lina Khan. The Biden administration has signaled its opposition to tech giants growing too big and powerful. But the deadline for the FTC to intervene has now passed, according to people familiar with the matter.
Amazon said it will buy MGM, acquiring popular franchises such as ‘James Bond’ and ‘The Pink Panther.’
The European Commission approved the Amazon-MGM deal this week, concluding that “the transaction would raise no competition concerns” in Europe.
The close of the Amazon-MGM deal comes after Discovery and AT&T said the time period had expired for U.S. regulators to try to block the $43-billion merger of Discovery and WarnerMedia, the parent company of HBO, CNN and Warner Bros. Discovery shareholders approved the acquisition of the larger WarnerMedia last week.
MGM will become part of the same unit as Amazon Studios and Amazon Prime Video. But it remains to be seen how MGM will fit with Amazon’s existing film and TV production business, Amazon Studios.
The Seattle tech giant’s entertainment business has had some success on the Amazon Prime streaming service with shows such as “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and acquired movies like “Coming 2 America.” Aaron Sorkin’s “Being the Ricardos,” released by Amazon, earned multiple Oscar nominations.
MGM’s recent films, such as “Cyrano” and the best-picture nominee “Licorice Pizza,” have been released exclusively in theaters rather than going straight to streaming. Amazon Studios films are primarily meant to feed Amazon Prime.
Unlocking MGM’s valuable library will be harder than it sounds, according to people familiar with the company.
When Amazon announced the deal, the company said it wanted to mine MGM’s vault for reboots, remakes and other franchise opportunities. MGM has a long legacy of filmmaking, with titles including “The Pink Panther” and “Thelma & Louise.”
However, many of the most famous titles MGM produced in its Golden Age heyday, such as “Gone With the Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz,” are no longer owned by the company, and many of its best known works have been exploited for attempted franchises.
“MGM has a nearly century-long legacy of producing exceptional entertainment, and we share their commitment to delivering a broad slate of original films and television shows to a global audience,” said Mike Hopkins, senior vice president of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, in a statement.
The MGM deal is Amazon’s second-largest acquisition after it bought grocer Whole Foods for nearly $14 billion in 2017.
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