Amazon has agreed to buy the storied MGM studios for $8.45 billion, the companies said Wednesday, giving the US tech giant a vast library to further its ambitions in streaming.
The deal bolsters Amazon Prime Video, which competes with Netflix and others in the fast-evolving market, with some 4,000 films — including the James Bond franchise — and 17,000 television shows.
“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,” said Mike Hopkins, senior vice president of Prime Video and Amazon Studios.
The deal comes with Amazon experiencing surging growth in online retail and cloud computing, while making a push into entertainment as consumers turn to streaming media.
It gives Amazon the fabled Metro Goldwyn Mayer studios, an iconic name in Hollywood which has been through a series of ownership changes and bankruptcy in recent years.
In addition to the James Bond franchise, MGM owns the rights to film productions including “Rocky”, “Legally Blonde” and “Tomb Raider”, and television shows such as “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills”.
“MGM has nearly a century of filmmaking history and complements the work of Amazon Studios, which has primarily focused on producing TV show programming,” a statement from the companies said.
“Amazon will help preserve MGM’s heritage and catalog of films, and provide customers with greater access to these existing works. Through this acquisition, Amazon would empower MGM to continue to do what they do best: great storytelling.”
Streaming gains steam
The tie-up marks a new twist in a fast-evolving media landscape increasingly dominated by streaming giants such as Netflix, a trend which has accelerated during the coronavirus pandemic.
The deal could increase scrutiny for Amazon, one of the Big Tech firms gaining unprecedented economic power in recent years and in the crosshairs of antitrust enforcers around the world.
Amazon was sued this week by US capital city Washington for allegedly abusing its dominance of online retail
Last week, telecom giant AT&T said it was spinning off its WarnerMedia division — owner of the Warner Bros studios — in a combination with Discovery, creating a new entity to focus on streaming and competing with the rapidly growing Disney+ and new entrants such as Apple TV+.
Amazon has said its Prime Video is used by some 175 million people worldwide. Its “Manchester by the Sea” in 2017 became the first film from a streaming service to be nominated for a best picture Oscar.
MGM studios, which has struggled to gain box office hits in recent years, is not connected to the MGM Resorts group which owns hotels and casinos around the world.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)