Amazon reportedly in talks to buy MGM

18 May 2021187 Views

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The famed film studio behind James Bond has been searching for a buyer in recent months, with $9bn said to be the asking price.

In what could be one of its biggest acquisitions ever, Amazon is said to be in talks to purchase Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), one of the world’s oldest film studios.

The Information first reported on the discussions on Monday (17 May). The New York Times later reported that MGM has been looking for a buyer for months with $9bn as the mooted price tag. Apple and Comcast have reportedly shown interest as well.

Such a deal would bring film franchises like James Bond and Rocky as well as newer TV shows like the Handmaid’s Tale under the ownership of Jeff Bezos’s tech giant, adding thousands of films and TV series to its streaming roster.

In a fierce streaming war with Disney+ and Netflix where content is king, Amazon has been forking over huge sums for films including $125m for the rights to Coming 2 America and $200m for the forthcoming film The Tomorrow War.

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Ownership of MGM’s properties would give Amazon a clear leg up. If it paid $9bn for MGM, it would mark the company’s second biggest acquisition after the $13.7bn purchase of Whole Foods in 2017.

Amazon is not slowing down in its march to take on a greater standing in Hollywood.

Last week, it announced that Jeff Blackburn, who previously oversaw the Prime streaming service, was returning to the company as senior vice-president of global media and entertainment. He will be responsible for several business units including Amazon Studios.

Amazon acquiring MGM would mark a significant shift in the film industry landscape but could come with some caveats and finer details that need to be ironed out. For example, MGM owns part of the Bond franchise, with the remainder owned by producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson who have a significant say over the franchise and its direction.

News of the talks have emerged just after AT&T announced a media assets merger with Discovery to create a new major player in streaming. That deal underscored the race for content and amassing the biggest war chest of movies and TV shows possible.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin

editorial@siliconrepublic.com