Amazon’s not short of a buck or two, and it’s reportedly in talks to offer a jaw-dropping $ 9 billion of them to buy MGM, the Hollywood studio that owns the James Bond, Rocky, and other high-profile movies and movie franchises. If it’s successful, it would be a massive move in the war between streaming giants—and give Amazon’s Prime Video a major leg up as it competes with the likes of Disney+ and Netflix.
More Stars Than the Heavens
Formed in 1924, MGM—which grew out of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures, and Louis B. Mayer Pictures—became one of the big five movie studios of the Hollywood golden age. Its iconic motto was “more stars than there are in heaven,” referring to the number of big-name actors and other talent it had on its roster.
Today, MGM’s biggest selling points are its catalog of major movies and other programming. In addition to Bond and the Rocky/Creed franchises, this includes the likes of The Hobbit, Robocop, The Silence of the Lambs, The Magnificent Seven, Gone With the Wind, and several thousand others. Its MGM TV library includes Fargo, The Handmaid’s Tale, the Stargate franchise, The Voice, Shark Tank, and more.
Unlike many of its Hollywood studio contemporaries, MGM has yet to be snapped up as part of an acquisition. The studio is said to have previously explored possible sales to Amazon’s fellow tech giants Netflix and Apple. However, the price was clearly deemed unacceptable for either to pursue.
A $ 9 Billion Purchase
Even for Amazon, dropping $ 9 billion on a movie studio is a pretty darn big acquisition. It would be the second-biggest acquisition in the retail giant’s history, following 2017’s $ 13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods. But given that it spent a reported $ 11 billion on Prime TV shows, movies and music in 2020, it wouldn’t be totally out of keeping with the company’s spend on entertainment with a view to pulling in extra subscribers.
Prime Video is currently available in over 200 countries and territories for customers with an eligible Prime Video or Amazon Prime membership. Amazon Prime has upward of 200 million Prime members around the world. According to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, around 175 million of these streamed content from Prime Video over the past year.
How many more would tune in if Amazon could add MGM content to its offerings? That remains to be seen. We may well find out, however. Well, possibly.
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