Amazon is in talks to acquire MGM, the movie studio behind the James Bond franchise, for around $ 9 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.
After a wave of mega-consolidation, MGM is one of the few Hollywood studios that has not been swallowed up by a larger conglomerate, Warner Bros operating within AT&T; Fox under Disney; Universal within Comcast; and Paramount in ViacomCBS.
This sector consolidation was relaunched on Monday with the merger of Discovery and WarnerMedia, as mainstream media groups rush to build more scale to compete with big tech companies in an entertainment business run by Diffusion.
Like other movie studios, MGM has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. With theaters remaining largely empty in the United States and Europe over the past year, MGM has postponed the release of the hit film Bond. No time to die four times.
With the movie on hold and the surge of Covid-19 last fall, Netflix has had talks with MGM about the acquisition No time to die for streaming release, but the price the studio was looking for has become prohibitive, people familiar with the matter have said. It is scheduled to hit theaters on September 30 in the UK and October 8 in the US.
MGM has an extensive library of movies and shows, including Fargo, The Handmaid’s Tale and the Hobbit and Bond franchises.
MGM’s largest shareholder is hedge fund Anchorage Capital, which began buying the studio’s debt in 2010 as part of a bankruptcy plan following the financial crisis. MGM reported net profit of $ 29 million on first quarter revenue of $ 403 million.
Amazon declined to comment. MGM did not respond to a request for comment.
The e-commerce giant is reloading its entertainment plans, after announcing to staff last week that Jeff Blackburn, longtime lieutenant to chief executive Jeff Bezos, would return to the company to lead a new “global organization of media and entertainment ”. The unit will integrate the breadth of Amazon entertainment content, from the Prime Video service to the game streaming site Twitch.
Amazon spent $ 11 billion last year creating, acquiring or licensing music and video content for Prime subscribers, up from $ 7.8 billion in 2019. The company has also been busy acquiring rights for live sports, including a deal with the NFL, valued at around $ 1 bn per year, to broadcast Thursday Night Football.
In a recent letter to shareholders, Bezos announced that Amazon has surpassed 200 million Prime members.
The Information first reported on Amazon’s discussions with MGM.