UPDATE: MAY, 26 — One of the most iconic and historic Hollywood movie studios has officially been gobbled up by Amazon. A week after news of a potential sale broke, both companies announced Wednesday morning that Jeff Bezos’s internet giant will acquire MGM for $8.45 billion. CNBC called the purchase Amazon’s “boldest move yet into the entertainment industry.”
MGM has a library of roughly 4,000 films and 17,000 TV shows, but, according to CNET, Prime Video may not automatically get “a huge influx of classics that you associate with MGM’s roaring lion intro,” adding that Amazon didn’t have comment about MGM’s library or customers’ access to it on Prime.
As Bloomberg points out, the sale not only brings successful franchises like James Bond, but successful execs: “Amazon wants to release big movies and create franchises that can appeal to viewers all over the world. It doesn’t have any in-house nor executives with the track record. MGM offers Bond, one of the most popular film franchises around, as well as a deep roster of film executives, led by Mike De Luca.”
The deal represents Amazon’s second biggest acquisition to date after Whole Foods, which it purchased for $13.7 billion in 2017.
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MAY 18, 2021 — Ever since Jeff Bezos’s tech giant Amazon launched its own studio to produce film and television content in 2010, there’s been speculation that it and other newcomers would eventually carve up the entire old Hollywood studio system. At the time, Roy Price, the first content director at Amazon Studios, told the press it was “the movie studio of the future.”
Well, the future is here (and has been) and the carving has begun. The New York Times and the Hollywood trades are reporting that Amazon is in talks to purchase MGM studios—home of the James Bond franchise, The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, Ben-Hur, Rocky, Silence of the Lambs, and around 4,000 other classic films—for $9 billion. MGM also owns 17,000 hours of television—and, apparently, it’s that content Amazon really wants to get its hands on.
According to Variety, MGM had been putting the word out that they were “open to” a sale for several months now, even floating a seven to ten billion price tag around town. The buzz of Amazon being a prospective buyer reached a fever pitch this weekend.
Despite the chatter, neither MGM nor Amazon are publicly commenting on a deal at this time, but the trades reported that the ongoing deal is being negotiated by Amazon senior VP Mike Hopkins and MGM board chairman Keith Ulrich, as we write.
In late 2020, there were reports that Apple was in talks to buy MGM, but preliminary talks failed. MGM has been one of Hollywood’s least steady studios in terms of leadership over the years, changing executive hands multiple times. And the reported $9 billion going price isn’t a huge sum for Amazon, which spent $11 billion last year on its own studio’s content.
Now—will MGM Studios lot get its own Whole Foods?
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