Amazon Closes $8.45 Billion “Mega Deal” To Buy MGM

The Hollywood Reporter reports:

In a landmark mega deal, Amazon is acquiring MGM Holdings — whose storied studio boasts one of the largest film and TV libraries — in a bid to turbocharge its Prime membership offering to customers and potentially mine intellectual property of franchises such as James Bond and Rocky.

The deal, pending regulatory approval, values the studio at $8.45 billion. The acquisition, unveiled just days after AT&T announced a $43 billion plan on May 17 to spin off its WarnerMedia division, including HBO and Warner Bros., to Discovery, marks the latest major consolidation to rattle the entertainment industry.

The New York Times reports:

The studio, which had been shopped around for months, was once home to “more stars than the heavens,” as Louis B. Mayer liked to brag. But its vast production lot and pre-1986 film library were sold off decades ago. (Sony Pictures now occupies the lot, and Warner Bros. owns classic MGM films like “Singin’ in the Rain,” “The Wizard of Oz,” and “Gone With the Wind.”)

MGM does come with one Hollywood crown jewel: James Bond. But even 007 has an asterisk. Amazon will own only 50 percent of the spy franchise. The balance is held by Barbara Broccoli and her brother, Michael G. Wilson. The siblings also have ironclad creative control, deciding when to make a new Bond film, who should play the title role and whether television spinoffs get made.

Jeff Bezos has said he will step down as Amazon’s CEO in the third quarter of this year. MGM Holdings is also the parent of United Artists Releasing, Orion Pictures, Orion Classics, Epix, Comet, and a constellation of film and television content companies.