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Amazon agrees US$8.45bn deal to buy MGM

Amazon has wrapped up its deal to acquire James Bond and Fargo studio MGM in a deal valued at US$8.45bn.

The acquisition marks Amazon’s second biggest-ever deal and will see the studio behind shows such as The Handmaid’s Tale and Vikings fall under the retail giant’s umbrella.

MGM’s catalogue includes more than 17,000 hours of TV as well as more than 4,000 films, ranging from 12 Angry Men and Basic Instinct to Legally Blonde, Raging Bull, Robocop and The Magnificent Seven.

Fargo‘Complementing Amazon Studios’

The move was first reported last week and it emerged that the deal was in its final stages yesterday, with Amazon Studios’ SVP of Prime Video Mike Hopkins saying the acquisition had been driven by MGM’s catalogue.

“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,” he said. “It’s very exciting and provides so many opportunities for high-quality storytelling.”

Amazon added: “MGM has nearly a century of filmmaking history and complements the work of Amazon Studios, which has primarily focused on producing TV show programming.”

Kevin Ulrich, chairman of the board of directors at MGM, said: “I am very proud that MGM’s Lion, which has long evoked the Golden Age of Hollywood, will continue its storied history, and the idea born from the creation of United Artists lives on in a way the founders originally intended, driven by the talent and their vision. The opportunity to align MGM’s storied history with Amazon is an inspiring combination.”

Mike HopkinsThe deal is subject to regulatory approvals and Amazon added that it would “help preserve MGM’s heritage and catalogue of films, and provide customers with greater access to these existing works.”

The retail giant continued: “Through this acquisition, Amazon would empower MGM to continue to do what they do best: great storytelling.”

Background

No Time To Die

The deal hands Amazon access to a raft of IP including FX drama Fargo and Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

It is also behind the Hobbit movie franchises but has been hit hard by the pandemic and the latest instalment of its key James Bond franchise – No Time To Die – has been postponed multiple times as cinemas faced closure.

Initial news of the deal emerged following AT&T’s decision to combine WarnerMedia and Discovery, a move that analysts have suggested will initiate further M&A across the sector as streamers vie for content.

MGM, meanwhile, has been the subject of persistent takeover rumours over recent months, with reports in December that the company had appointed investment banks to advise on a potential sale.

The US studio has been without a formal CEO since Gary Barber left after holding potential sale talks with Apple.

The company has more recent been overhauling its international operations, hiring former Studiocanal MD Rola Bauer to lead its global TV productions while execs including SVP of UK, China & European co-productions Charlie Farmer have exited, as revealed by TBI.

The studio, which is owned by US private equity firm Anchorage Capital, has been behind TV shows such as History’s Vikings, its spin-off Vikings: Valhalla for Netflix, Get Shorty for Epix, and Condor for AT&T’s Audience Network.

The company also has a Spanish-language joint venture with Gato Grande Productions, which is behind Netflix’s Luis Miguel: The Series.

Tags: Amazon, MGM