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Thursday, Aug 11, 2022

Amazon in Talks to Acquire MGM

Beverly Hills-based Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. is in talks to be acquired by Amazon.com Inc. as the Seattle-based ecommerce giant looks to expand its streaming business.

The two companies have reportedly been in talks for weeks, with multiple news outlets pegging the legacy studio's asking price at $9 billion. The sale would give Amazon the rights to MGM’s extensive film and television library, which includes the James Bond franchise, Oscar-winning films like “The Silence of the Lambs” and “Fargo” and award-winning streaming series “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Mike Hopkins, senior vice president of Amazon Studios and Prime Video, and MGM board chairman Kevin Ulrich are reportedly putting the deal together. Ulrich is also the head of Sydney-based Anchorage Capital Partners, a major shareholder in MGM.

MGM has been looking for a buyer since December and had enlisted New York-based investment banking companies Morgan Stanley and LionTree as advisors.

The move comes as Amazon looks to make headway in the streaming landscape with Prime Video. Amazon said it has spent $11 billion on content for Prime streaming services in 2020, an increase of 40% year over year.

Amazon announced last week that it would bring back Jeff Blackburn, its former Prime Video, Amazon Studios and Amazon Music head, to lead its consolidated global media and entertainment group. Blackburn is set to rejoin the company on June 7.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said in an investors call on April 29 that 175 million of Amazon’s 200 million subscribers had used Prime Video for streaming in the past year, and streaming hours were up 70% year over year. Amazon Studios’ content also performed well in the 93rd Academy Awards, bringing in 12 nominations.

The pandemic stalled the releases of MGM films including the 25th installment of the James Bond franchise, “No Time to Die” and “Legally Blonde 3.” MGM Holdings Inc., the studio’s parent company, saw its fiscal year revenue dip around 3% in 2020, from $1.54 billion to $1.5 billion.


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