Amazon has reached a deal to acquire the film and TV company MGM for $8.45 billion, the companies announced today. It’s a significant acquisition for the e-commerce giant, and it means it will own a library of content that’s reported to consist of around 4,000 films and 17,000 hours of TV. The acquisition is likely to help Amazon attract even more big-spending Prime subscribers as its Prime Video service competes with the likes of Netflix and Disney Plus.
MGM is perhaps most notable for being the Hollywood studio behind the James Bond and Rocky franchises, but its library runs the gamut from classic films like 12 Angry Men to modern TV shows like The Handmaid’s Tale and Vikings. MGM’s library also includes unscripted TV shows like The Voice and Shark Tank. Amazon says the acquisition will “provide customers with greater access” to MGM’s works and “empower” the studio to continue its “great storytelling.”
“The real financial value behind this deal is the treasure trove of IP”
“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,” Mike Hopkins, senior vice president of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, said in a statement. “It’s very exciting and provides so many opportunities for high-quality storytelling.”
Amazon’s media business has so far been a relatively small part of its overall empire, although it still spends billions on content each year. A substantial portion of Prime subscribers make use of the included free Prime Video streaming. Of the 200 million-plus people worldwide who are currently subscribed to Amazon Prime, over 175 million streamed video last year. Adding thousands more films and TV shows could be a boon for both figures.
Reports of Amazon’s possible acquisition of MGM first emerged in mid-May. Variety reported that the deal was being negotiated by Hopkins. The Wall Street Journal reported on May 24th that Amazon was nearing a deal to buy MGM.
MGM is currently owned by a collection of private equity firms, including Anchorage Capital Group, Highland Capital Management, and Solus Alternative Asset Management. Reports that MGM was up for sale emerged last December.
The sale of MGM comes during a period of Hollywood consolidation, as companies attempt to beef up their content libraries to compete with Netflix and Disney. AT&T recently spun out its media business WarnerMedia to merge it with TV company Discovery, creating the world’s second largest media firm by revenue outside of Disney. Both companies have their own streaming services (HBO Max and Discovery Plus), raising the possibility of them being combined into a single, more substantial service.