Amazon.com has agreed to buy MGM, the fabled U.S. movie studio home to the James Bond franchise, for $8.45 billion, giving it a library of films and TV shows and ramping up competition with streaming rivals led by Netflix and Disney+.
The deal aims to bolster Amazon’s television-focused studio with new and historic filmmaking from MGM, which has claimed other lucrative series including “Rocky” and “Pink Panther” since its founding in 1924.
Streaming video helps the world’s largest online retailer draw consumers to subscribe to Prime, a club with fast shipping, and to shop more once they’re members. Privately-held MGM, or Metro Goldwyn Mayer, also owns the Epix cable channel and makes popular TV shows including “Fargo,” “Vikings” and “Shark Tank.”
“The real financial value behind this deal is the treasure trove of (intellectual property) in the deep catalog that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM’s talented team,” Mike Hopkins, senior vice president of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, said.
Amazon’s Prime Video faces a long list of rivals including Netflix, Walt Disney Co’s Disney+ (DIS.N), HBO Max and Apple’s Apple TV+. The companies have increased spending and expanded in international markets, capturing the pandemic-led shift to binge-watching shows online.
AT&T announced a $43-billion deal last week to spin out its WarnerMedia business and combine it with Discovery.
Amazon’s Hollywood studio purchase is a first for a big U.S. tech company and could spark further interest in Silicon Valley.