Amazon roars for MGM’s lion, to pay over $8bn for studio

Published May 27, 2021
Smartphone with Amazon logo is seen in front of displayed MGM logo in this illustration. — Reuters
Smartphone with Amazon logo is seen in front of displayed MGM logo in this illustration. — Reuters

NEW YORK: Amazon.com Inc said on Wednesday it had signed a deal with MGM to buy the fabled US movie studio home to the James Bond franchise, for $8.45 billion, giving it a huge library of films and TV shows and ramping up competition with streaming rivals led by Netflix and Disney+.

The deal aims to bolster Amazon’s television-focused studio with new and historic filmmaking from MGM, which has claimed other lucrative series including Rocky and Pink Panther since its founding in 1924.

Streaming video helps the world’s largest online retailer draw consumers to subscribe to Prime, a club with fast shipping, and to shop more once they’re members. Privately-held MGM, or Metro Goldwyn Mayer, also owns the Epix cable channel and makes popular TV shows including Fargo, Vikings and Shark Tank.

Mike Hopkins, senior vice president of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, said in a news release that MGM’s library is rich with opportunities.

“The real financial value behind this deal is the treasure trove of (intellectual property) in the deep catalogue that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM’s talented team,” he said.

Amazon’s Prime Video faces a long list of rivals like Netflix Inc, Walt Disney Co’s Disney+, HBO Max and Apple Inc’s Apple TV+.

The companies have increased spending and expanded in international markets, capturing the pandemic-led shift to binge-watching shows online.

To stay competitive, Amazon has also courted fans of live sports and picked up lucrative licences to stream games, touting a long-term deal with the National Football League that was estimated to cost $1 billion per year.

The proliferating streaming services are scrambling for brands that they can expand and libraries of older shows and movies. Analysts have said this is a big motivation for another round of consolidation of media properties after a brief hiatus during the pandemic.

Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2021

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