Amazon Buys MGM for AU $10.9 Billion

Amazon and MGM have today announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Amazon will acquire MGM for AU $10.9 billion (US $8.45 billion).

The deal gives Amazon access to MGM’s extensive catalogue of more than 4,000 films, including the James Bond franchise, and over 17, 000 television shows, that have collectively won over 180 Academy and 100 Emmy Awards. Under the new deal, Amazon will help preserve MGM’s heritage and catalogue of films, and provide customers with greater access to these existing works.

The real financial value behind this deal is the treasure trove of IP in the deep catalogue that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM’s talented team. It’s very exciting and provides so many opportunities for high-quality storytelling,” says Mike Hopkins, Senior Vice President of Prime Video and Amazon Studios.

Many in the industry raised an eyebrow at the price tag Amazon were willing to pay to acquire MGM and it’s extensive catalogue. Not only has MGM has juggled bankruptcy and a revolving door of owners over the past decade, but it’s most prized property, the James Bond franchise, isn’t owned outright.

Instead, MGM shares ownership with EON Productions, owned by half-siblings Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, who exercise an unusual amount of control over the franchise – with rights to approve everything from marketing to casting and distribution to ancillary projects.

As such, it is likely Amazon may struggle to get approval to debut the new James Bond film, No Time To Die (2021) on their streaming service, Amazon Prime, or green light any potential spin-off series.

In an exclusive statement to Variety, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson said, “We are committed to continuing to make James Bond films for the worldwide theatrical audience.”

It is still yet unknown how long the theatrical window for the films release will be, before being released on the streaming service. No Time To Die is still expected to be released in UK cinemas on 30 September, 2021.

The deal is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, and is expected to face opposition from US antitrust laws.

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