Amazon and MGM have announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which the tech giant will acquire one of Hollywood’s most famous studios for a purchase price of $8.45bn.
The deal means Amazon’s Prime streaming service will gain access to a back catalogue of more than 4,000 films, including the James Bond franchise, and 17,000 TV shows such as The Handmaid’s Tale and Fargo.
The agreement complements the work of Amazon Studios, which has primarily focused on producing TV series such as The Boys, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and recently launched The Underground Railroad.
In a statement, the company said Amazon will help preserve MGM’s heritage and catalogue of films, and “provide customers with greater access” to these existing works.
“Through this acquisition, Amazon would empower MGM to continue to do what they do best: great storytelling,” the statement added.
MGM’s catalogue of films covers more than 10 decades of filmmaking and includes classic and contemporary titles that have collectively won more than 180 Academy Awards such as 12 Angry Men, Basic Instinct, Creed, James Bond, Legally Blonde, Moonstruck, Poltergeist, Raging Bull, Robocop, Rocky, The Silence Of The Lambs, Thelma & Louise, The Magnificent Seven and The Pink Panther.
Mike Hopkins, senior vice president of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, said: “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.”
MGM’s upcoming film slate includes Ridley Scott’s House Of Gucci, James Bond feature No Time To Die, Aretha Franklin biopic Respect, animation The Addams Family 2 and the untitled Paul Thomas Anderson film.
Following the announcement, Kevin Ulrich, chairman of MGM’s board of directors, 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.”
It marks ongoing consolidation at the highest level of the industry and follows the WarnerMedia-Discovery merger last week, revealing the urgency with which media and entertainment giants are working to strengthen their streaming services.
Amazon’s global Prime membership has topped 200 million, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said in a first quarter earnings call last month that some 175 million viewed Prime Video in 2020.
The tech giant spent $11bn on film, TV and music last year, according to its annual report, up 41% on 2019. Former senior executive Jeff Blackburn recently returned to take oversight of the global media and entertainment group.
Completion of the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.